When your own mind is turning into a prison you are constantly trying to find your way out of it. I’m often running as fast as I can but it always catches up with me. I can feel it breathing down my spine, clinging on to me. Always letting me know it is there, ready to bring me back to my cell. It is like being placed in solitary. Imagine being trapped in a box with no windows or doors and it is dark, cold and wet. This is the story I wanted this image to tell.
The subject packed her belongings and made a run for it. Unfortunately whatever she is running from caught up with her and she is defeated. When I planned this image I knew I wanted the subject to be immersed in water. She is drowning and has nothing to hold on to. Although the story is dramatic I wanted the image to be peaceful. The subject has come to terms with her destiny.
I took this self-portrait by a beautiful lake in Oslo called Lutvann. I brought my son with me and he found it hilarious to see his mother laying fully clothed in water surrounded by suitcases. It turned out that the location was a popular spot for hikers and to my embarrassment we soon had a growing audience taking pictures of us. Another problem was that the dress became see-through when wet.
When I am photographing water I like to work with reflections. As usual when working with self-portraiture I had to run back and forth to see how the shots turned out. Every time I laid myself down in the water I stirred it up and the reflections vanished. Because of this I laid very still for a minute or so until the water was completely still and the reflections reappeared. Another problem I stumbled upon was that the suitcases took in water and sank while I was laying still and I had to start all over.
Struggling a bit with the suitcases here..
I was getting so cold that my lips turned blue and I was shivering. I kept on taking more shots until I dropped my remote in the water and it died on me. I rushed over to my camera to see if any of the shots were any good and to my relief I was happy with a couple of them.
In post-production I converted the image to black and white, adjusted contrast and added a vignette and texture in order to give the image a painterly look.
I am very pleased with how this image turned out in the end and I have actually won several awards for it. Since the story behind the image is so personal I had doubts about sharing it online but I did it anyway. I’m glad I decided to do it and I’m proud of myself for daring to share the story behind it with you in this blog post.