I realized I’m pretty vague about talking about my work. So here goes, very quickly, in a nutshell (but, mostly an explanation of this photo).
My photos are basically a collection of images that abstractly depict my thoughts and feelings during the 2 days my father was dying (heart attack/stroke) back in early May of 2011. If you notice, my entire portfolio is POST May 2011, despite having shot models since 2006. I’m obsessed with abandoned buildings- specifically hospitals- because I feel they best depict the feelings I’m trying to get across, and the environment I felt that I was in, at the time. I don’t do it because I’m a “Ghost Hunter” or I’m trying to be “Creepy”, or WHATEVER you may want to label it as- I do it because, visually, it seems perfect to me.
I had seen photos of this staircase months ago, in January 2013. I was immediately enamored with the photos, and just the thought of the location. I knew EXACTLY what I wanted the photo to look like. I had brought someone here to shoot in February, but was unable to get this angle- the lighting just wasn’t good enough that day.
When my father was dying, I was idly pacing in a hallway and had made my way towards an elevator. As the elevator doors closed, I saw what I thought was a hallucination- A lady in the elevator with a giant harp. A…GIANT… harp (about 7 feet tall). I rubbed my eyes figuring I had lost it- that I couldn’t handle anything anymore and that I had just COMPLETELY lost my mind in the given situation.
The next morning, my mother and I decided to take my father off life-support. We were told that the stroke had left him brain-dead, and that there was no chance he would ever open his eyes again. The hospital took him off at 4pm. Minutes turned into an hour. It was hard. It was hard to hear the machines. It was hard to hear my father struggle each breath. It was just so hard. I was in a state of disbelief- my sorrow, my horror, the weight pressing hard on my chest- it webbed a giant disgusting web of just pure disbelief. I couldn’t even cry. All I could do was be disgusted. Disgusted that this was happening to me, AND WHY.
Then, the lady with the harp walks in. And she asks, barely loud enough for my mother and I to here “Do you mind?”.
And we just sort of shake out heads, to say no, we don’t mind.
And she played her harp, and I cried. I cried so hard, I couldn’t breathe. I couldn’t hear the machines, I couldn’t hear my father struggling to breathe, all I heard was the harp, and I realized that in the lowest moment of my life, someone had given me the greatest gift ever; and it’s simple, and cliche, but I had never truly realized it until that moment: no matter how low you are, there will ALWAYS be something that will pull you out of it. ALWAYS.
This staircase reminded me of a harp, and pretty much depicted how I felt in those 10 minutes that quite possibly saved my life.
Also, this is her: https://www.facebook.com/pages/De-Luna-Harps/307048707266 Ironically, my mother had bought a CD of hers in a shop the previous fall- I found the CD at home, noticed her email address was on the inside liner, and emailed her to tell her how much her music meant to me.
Model: Jamie Joplin
Photographer: Karen Jerzyk