I’m guilty of comforting myself with bad food and too much wine. I’ve squandered money for the all-too-brief comfort of a superficial purchase and have bitten my fingernails until they bled. I’ve also given myself the gift of daily meditation, nightly foot rubs, and exotic smelling candles that transport me to another place when I can’t afford to travel there myself.
I see those around me seek comfort from the stresses and despair of everyday life in the small things, both mindlessly and mindfully, one enriching their lives, the other destructing it.
Each of us reaches for something when life makes us uneasy… something to ground us, something to dull the pain, or a simple ritual to distract us from an ever-spinning mind.
What special items, places, spaces or habits do we share in-community and how many of them are self-care or self-destruction?
Comfort is a project born from my own journey to have a greater mindfulness in how I take care of myself in those moments and a curiosity about how others do the same.
This series of images began as part of The Define School’s Unapologetic Artist class with photographer and teacher, Carolyn Mara Borlenghi. We began by brainstorming words and topics that resonated with us, expanding upon those words with our wildest-imagination visual representations of them, and then exploring a few over a couple of weeks.
Each week we submitted a number of images for each thread to our fellow students and Carolyn for critique. Their constructive feedback helped us to hone our vision and, eventually, choose one topic for a final project.
That’s how ‘Comfort’ was born.
Carolyn teaches like an art professor, not a photographer and so, during her classes you feel you’re learning and pulling from the deep well of your unique, inner artist, not just as someone trying to operate a camera. As a result you come away feeling emotionally fulfilled and inspired to be braver with your work.
Although the class is over, my project continues. This is just the beginning. I’d love to add another 20 or so new subjects to my project and my goal is to document them interacting with those things that give then comfort in a way that reveals not only something about them but resonates with all of us trying to negotiate this sometimes complicated thing called real life.
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