The story behind my signature image

If I were to describe depression with one word I would say «isolation». You are alone with your thoughts because it is useless trying to explain them to anyone else. You feel isolated.

It is a wall of glass between your and other people. You can observe them while they are living and enjoying their lives, but you can not participate. The glass wall makes sure of that. It isolates you.

Every time you are feeling glimpses of happiness, it pokes you on your shoulder just to let you know it is there, ready to break out in case you let your guard down for a little minute. It makes sure you are busy guarding all your gates. It isolates you.

Sylvia Plath explained this so well in the poem «Elm»:

«I am terrified by this dark thing

That sleeps in me;

All day I feel its soft, feathery turnings, its malignity.»

When I created this image I wanted it to convey the feeling of isolation and despair and I used plastic to create an illusion of a wall between me and my surroundings.

I wanted the location to have a remote and isolated feel to it so I decided to shoot the image on a foggy morning by a lake north of Oslo called Harestuvannet. The fog surrounds the subject like a veil and really enhances the feeling of isolation.

As soon as I arrived on location I stepped out in the water and covered myself in plastic. When I work with self portraiture I always use a tripod and a remote control and I run back and forth to see how the shots turn out. In this case I was trapped in plastic so I just had to wing it. The hardest thing was to the get the plastic to flow nice and after about 30 attempts I finally got it right. As soon as I was done I saw the sun rise above the hill and the fog vanished in the blink of an eye.



As you can see I struggled a lot to get the plastic to flow right. In this shot I also forgot to hide the remote control..





In post production I converted the image to black and white, added contrast, vignette and texture.

I feel a sense of pride when I look at this image and consider it to be one of my signature images. It is sincere and honest and it captures exactly what depression is to me.

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