A beautiful journey

Firstly I have to apologise if this seems a little scattered, my head is still a bit all over the place after the exhibition 'From Isolation to Solitude' which finished after an 8 day run on Thursday evening. 

What an experience, I'm definitely guilty of using superlatives too often however I can't find enough to describe the experience of putting on this exhibition as well as the affect it seemed to have on people. When I first bought this up around 8 months ago to a very close friend it was based around the idea of showing images that I'd taken from my travels with the aim being to break the stereotypical idea of an addict, to show that we are in fact very capable and it's a much more prevalent issue than a person sitting homeless in the gutter. I was uneasy with this idea though, it wasn't specifically making a statement, more just a collection of photos. Over time this evolved to really showcasing the isolation that an addict (in fact anyone suffering from a mental illness) can experience, those intense moments of loneliness and pain, where the mind battles itself constantly and insanity draws closer with each breathe.

The whole process was really special, I was incredibly proud of the final collection of images but more importantly the journey was very special. Through the shooting, the organising and finally presenting I feel as if my recovery took major strides forward. I was forced to confront the past, to look deeply into myself and examine the reasons this happened, the personality traits and defects that I previously I ignored or accepted (or both). I had to learn patience, tolerance, acceptance and most importantly that what I did was good enough if it started a dialogue within society about addiction.

The reaction of people that came to visit was very special, something that I will never forget. I had the pleasure of meeting a family on the second night, I didn't know them, they had no previous experience with addicts however we talked for a long time about the issues, they asked some really honest and searching questions and were visibly affected by the images. If it was only these people that attended I would have been happy, the fact that we had a great turn out of very like minded people surpassed my wildest dreams.

I would like to thank a very special group of people who made this event possible (they know who they are), Bar Naked for their amazing hospitality and generosity for providing the space for free, a group of my closest friends who are recovering addicts themselves for giving their time to speak and host panels during the exhibition, AVS printing who did an amazing job and finally to all my family, friends and strangers, near and far who came to the event or supported through messages. I believe that no addict need to suffer in silence, this was my first small step on what I believe will be a long journey, to open this up to the world.

My next steps in this process are still undecided, however I'm really excited to focus on my next photography project, probably one that moves away from isolation/fear themes and towards something happier......a nice weekend of my time and then I'll make a call.

Thank you for taking the time to read.

Matt