Connection. Movement. Introspection. Grief. These are words Washington based, Canadian photographer, Amy Woodward uses to describe her photo series. Using a combination of expressive actions, Amy blends movement with stillness and generates an amalgamation of intimate moments. This series takes us on a journey through pain, fear, anger and confinement, proceeding to elevate us to a place of peace, comfort and relief. Amy creates a dialogue for both the participants and the viewers of this series to explore their personal experiences and understanding of the series topic - ending gender-based violence. Facilitating this journey for her subjects, Amy created a safe space to develop and collaborate to produce the work.
Through the storyline in this series, Amy explores the visual progression of domestic violence. She captures feelings of fear, rage and confinement though scenes that depict silencing, forced attachment, and physical struggle to highlight both the diversity and the magnitude of the emotional impact on victims of gender-based violence.
The unknown repressor in these images represents the inability for victims to confront or even identify who the aggressor is, in some instances creating a metaphor for self-repression. Is the repressor literal or an indicator toward an inability to recognize and remove these instances of abuse? The unidentified presence in these images show strength in their forearms; trapping these women in a suspended moments of isolation and restriction.
We continue through the series, revealing a number of intimate portraits. The raw postures of these women, emphasized through their nakedness, exposing them to a harsh and uncertain aftermath.
Betrayal, self-loathing, depression, disbelief. We can feel their vulnerability through their need to shield their face and protect their bodies. They huddle and contort themselves into positions of self-comfort and preservation. The way their bodies are framed within each image project feelings of isolation and loneliness, coupled with the use of heavier tones which help to communicate the nuances of this subject and set the mood for the series as a whole.
The final few images in this series promote feelings of support, relief and liberation. Sometimes there is comfort in victims coming together to support one another, such as in the image we see of a woman holding and comforting her child in her arms. Perhaps peace is something that must be discovered from within as we see in the image of the solitary woman, sprawled across the frame almost as if free falling through the dream-like, wavy grass. Relief, calm, and a sense of freedom in her relaxed facial expression.
There is solace in knowing that you can weather the storm and come out on the other side.
“As photographers, we have the ability (responsibility) to render art from anguish, to give a voice to the voiceless - it's my mission to explore that spectrum of emotion in my body of work. The beauty of the human experience, shared.This campaign, Orange The World, is an opportunity to explore a visual representation of domestic violence. This creates dialogue by using our visual language that fosters the visceral relationship we have with our own personal perspectives of gender-based violence. This is mine.”
These images leave us haunted, yet empowered by the message and dialogue this series promotes.