The five stages of grief when losing yourself


A photobook by Carola Menor, Laura Gutiérrez, Iria González and Candela Platón. Link to the work.

We read the theme Being locked in pictures as being trapped in the image one has of themselves, in this case a negative image. Our photobook is a visual narrative; it tells the story of a young woman who does not feel comfortable in her own body, until she faces her fears and struggles and she finally accepts herself the way she is. Thus why we titled our work The five stages of grief when losing yourself. We believe that it is necessary to lose a part of yourself before finding you again.

The first stage is denial, here we have the subject looking calm and inexpressive, she is ignoring her feelings. As the second picture portrays, she is still, while her reflection – her insides – is starting to outrage. Something similar happens with the third picture, as she is still avoiding her true feelings, but the haunting presence of hatred is starting to creep over her. The fourth and last picture of the first stage is what we call the dissociation; her insides are being torn apart, she can not keep ignoring her feelings but she does anyway. This takes her to a state of numbness. She makes up and paints her lips, but this no longer makes her feel ok, and her feelings start to creep quietly until she bursts into rage – this corresponds to the first two pictures of anger. Until she can not stand her reflection anymore, and in hopes of hurting herself, she breaks the mirror that until now holded the image of herself that she hates- picture seven-. Because our character has killed her reflection, she has no choice but to dialogue with herself. At first reluctant to do so – picture eight-, she comes to terms with her alter ego, but instead of finding peace, her feelings hit her all at once, leading her to the four stage, the stage of depression. All of this is too much for her, she can not keep up with it, she hates herself and everyone around her does too. The broken mirror on the floor is more than ever a self-reflection.She even considers ending her life with it. Her feelings, once again inside of her, make her feel hollow; turning her skin into a shell for something that is no longer there. Here we have her last look at her reflection, and her eyes glisten with blue light, giving her the strength she needs to get out of that suffocating void. This is the start of the stage of acceptance. In its first photo we can see how her closed eyes are beginning to be enlightened with more natural light. symbolizing the beginning of her acceptance process, as if she finally came out of the cave that was her own thoughts, and needs a second to get used to ambient light.

We know that healing isn’t linear, but we chose to finish the photobook with only one picture with natural lighting, because we feel that is almost relieving, making you -as a spectator- finally breath after the dark succession of pictures.

Out of almost 100 pictures, we chose the most expressive – and in some cases almost haunting – photographs, so the viewer can join the model in this exhausting journey of coming apart and finding yourself among the chaos. As the last poem says, “ As if I had died, And in heaven I shall live”

Our photobook is both descriptive and reflective. We have used this opportunity to reflect on the way we perceive ourselves. We have taken emotions we all have felt at least once in our lives, and we have taken those feelings to its maximum expression, being as descriptive as possible, so in the case that the viewer hasn’t experienced it, can still feel it.

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