Pneuma is an ancient Greek word that refers to the breath or spirit. In Stoicism, pneuma has the added connotation of the soul’s creative fire or spirit. Of physical needs, breath is the most immediate. Just as fire goes out when deprived of oxygen in airtight containment, the creative spirit can be extinguished or never developed in an enclosed, sealed off environment.
There are many such parallels between physical and spiritual realms. A tiny glimmer of intuition must have caused me to investigate these parallels photographically even before I really understood that I was on the precipice of a long and difficult spiritual journey, having only just begun to take shallow breaths of air. Eventually, my lungs and heart would swell with the freedom to think my own thoughts and feel my own feelings but before that many small deaths and resurrections would lie ahead. There was a spirit that still lived somewhere in that abandoned house and I began my search for her with these photographs.
All images and text © Joy Hart
By Joy Hart