In Spring 2019 I was commissioned by the Brighton-based arts charity Root Experience to make a series of portraits for their project Hidden Stories. The Hidden Stories journey began with a programme of creative workshops conceived by Root Experience, encouraging people with invisible conditions or disabilities to explore their experiences through storytelling, visual arts & soundscapes. The workshops inspired courageous, open conversations around living with conditions such as anxiety, autism, or chronic pain - conditions that are often the source of misunderstanding or judgement, & can lead to stigma & loneliness.
In my approach to this commission, I was guided by the participants & what they felt comfortable sharing with me - the fragment of a narrative, the description of an emotion, the perception of a memory - helped us come up with ideas & settings for the images. The only condition agreed in advance was that the portraits would remain anonymous. What emerged over a period of weeks was a series of photographs, created collaboratively, & accompanied by a personal statement written by the participants in response to the images.
Root Experience won a grant from The People's Projects 2018, (funded by The National Lottery Community Fund), to support the publication of a playfully illustrated book Hidden Stories. The book was written by Simon Magnus & Samantha Wraith of Root Experience, co-created with the project participants, & beautifully illustrated by Tinne Luyten. A touring exhibition of my photographs accompanied the launch of the book at venues across the South of England.