Not so long ago I had a growing migraine attack while lying in bed on a Saturday morning. Migraines were new to me so I was surprised to sense tingling spreading across my limbs. I suddenly felt something pop in my head and pulse through me. Right then paralysis spread over me like a wave would. I couldn’t move, couldn’t even open my eyes, couldn’t call for help. My mind was fully on but my body was no longer responding to its command. I was locked-in.
It only lasted a short while but it was the most terrifying event of my life so far. In what started as an attempt to exorcise my angst, I decided to explore through photography the anguish I had felt during this episode.
Beyond my very personal connection to this body of work, I have always been drawn to contrasting juxtapositions. And I’m mostly interested in a growing realization that oppositions and contradictions are not always necessarily mutually exclusive as logic would dictate – for instance an ugly incident can also have some beauty to it.
Reflecting on having been locked-in, I was fascinated by the idea that I had felt very much in motion while totally paralyzed. I set out to highlight those two opposite states of being happening concurrently by representing visually the different stages of my incident combining multiple exposures digitally.
I believe digital impressions would have been too sharp and crisp for the subject matter and I therefore chose to hand print the series using the Van Dyke Browns process. This antique alternative process gives the final prints a certain softness, fitting with my experience, which adds to the slightly surreal feel of the work. This in turn also acts as an allegory for the complex and obscure link between our body and our mind – a connection we rarely truly contemplate, except maybe on the days when it stops working properly.
Anne-Laure Autin is a French fine-art photographer and mixed-media artist residing in the Netherlands.
Anne-Laure Autin, Locked-In
March 23 to April 29, 2017
Corden Potts Gallery
49 Geary St #410
San Francisco, CA 94108