Sometimes I cry so hard I think the tears will never stop. Sometimes I feel so tired I want to lay my head down and sleep forever. Sometimes I feel absolutely nothing and wonder if I will ever feel happy again. I wrote those words in a workbook when I was feeling particularly overwhelmed and vulnerable a few weeks after a health crisis in my family. No matter who we are, we all face life challenges. No matter what crisis we face, we all struggle with a range of feelings. Through images and words, I wanted to share my journey with others, in hopes that it may help someone else deal with their own struggle through difficult times. In the weeks and months following my husband's stroke, I spent most of my daytime hours at the hospital. When I returned home in the evening I would sit in an exhausted daze, my mind alternating between frantically racing around, or totally void of emotion. In an effort to turn off my worry and feelings of helplessness, I turned to photography. I wasn't up to shooting with my camera, but I used my own photographic library to create images that depicted my feelings. An introvert at heart, I am not usually one to talk about my feelings with other people, so I used my artistic process to express my feelings and help myself heal. Some of the images are composited self-portraits, pictures of myself inserted into situations of my own creation. I call this series "Stroke of Emotions". This series was inspired by the work of photographer Brooke Shaden. Some of the images are composited with pictures of trees and birds, a more symbolic representation of similar emotions. I believe trees represent growth and strength, with roots to ground us in our traditions. I see birds in flight as symbols of freedom, with the power of dreams and life renewed. Together, trees and birds create powerful images of inspiration and tools to heal the soul. I call this series "Roots + Wings". This series is comprised of 14 images and includes verse to pair with each image.
We featured Sara's work in our
SPRING/ SUMMER 2020 - Photography + #Mental Health edition.
See more of her work online: www.saraharley.com