The Possibility of Movement is a series of photographs about emotional immobility.
I started to think about this project two years ago at a period in my life when I felt very stuck. I had recently moved to London, I had a good job in safeguarding children but few friends in this huge city and I was, in truth, lonely. I was also missing my daughter who lives 150 miles away in my home town.
Initially I became interested in trying to articulate this feeling of immobility using one of the core elements of photography – that being the still image and arresting moments in time – though this was from the point of view that this more strongly suggested movement. I started to make images on my iphone, developing an approach that explored situations, places and events that suggested movement from junctions to children’s parks and slides trying to articulate through the photographs, to the viewer and myself, that movement was indeed possible – this resonated in my life as I started to explore more of the opportunities that the city had to offer. Later I started to make images on my DSLR, using the same methodology and moving away from the snapshot aesthetic to more thoughtfully composed work – those images are shown here.
Importantly, I started to see stories of male mental ill health in the press and on tv with research stating that suicide was the number one cause of death for men under 35 and that there is something of an epidemic of mental health issues in the male population. My own experience of emotional ‘stuckness’ gave me some insight into the challenges some men face regarding intimate relationships and the gendered roles expected of them.
As the work developed I started to conceive of the project as a call to arms, one for policy makers and intervention services but primarily for other men – change, progress and movement are all possible though it sometimes takes speaking to others about the challenges one is facing and asking for support. With this in mind the images took on a different set of meanings, grounded in my initial experiences but, hopefully, resonant for others.