I Set My Past on Fire (A Self Portrait)

Hof8231

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Some of you know about my suicide attempt, some don't. In the past, I've chosen to do much darker pictures relating to it. I feel that this once has a little bit of a better message to it. C&C always much appreciated. I just got a 430 EXII so I've been messing around with off camera flash a lot. I like the angle of the flash on this picture personally, but I'd like to know what others think. Thanks for looking!


Setting Past on Fire by SteveH8231, on Flickr
 

tirediron

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The idea works, but there are two points to the execution that aren't quite there IMO. One is the way the flames appear to be going up your nose, and the other is that the image you're holding doesn't (to me at least) clearly impart the issue.
 

esselle

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agree with tirediron on his points.
on another note...you seem to be in a better place now; that's good news!
 

jenko

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The hard light and shadows seem to work here. The burning photo appears to be you? lying in a hospital bed?

I will have to agree with others that the idea isn't crystal clear and could easily be misconstrued. However, if you had a series of images on the same theme, it might bring the concept into focus.

Very happy to read you are working through it. I think art is a great way to express the struggle. I hope things keep getting better for you. :)
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Thanks for input and words of encouragement everybody! I agree about the flames, but this picture was the best in terms of actual visible flame and smoke so it's the one I chose. Basically, I chose it for lack of a better alternative. As for the picture of me in the hospital bed, I couldn't really think of any other picture that would show my past mistake better. I'm open to any and all suggestions though. I have several pictures of myself in the hospital and of my apartment before it was cleaned up that I could use too. Or maybe I could use a couple to make the subject more clear?
 

esselle

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Hof, I'm truly intrigued and moved by your desire to do something like this. I don't believe I've ever seen such a 'project' as this. How about those closest to you? Do they have any ideas for this? They could bring a lot of positive insight and input into something like this for you.
 

cgipson1

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One thing you really should think about.. is posting something like this on the internet! Employers / potential employers do internet searches, and something like this could cost you a position. You have an easily identifiable image of yourself... that could cause issues for you later, when you are trying to move on. Just something to think about it. Anything shared on the net, can show up anywhere... and usually will!
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Hof, I'm truly intrigued and moved by your desire to do something like this. I don't believe I've ever seen such a 'project' as this. How about those closest to you? Do they have any ideas for this? They could bring a lot of positive insight and input into something like this for you.

Thank you! Yeah, I'm trying to get as many of my friends and family involved as I can. My graduating class from high school had quite a few suicides that affected us all very much, so I'm thinking of incorporating that into it.

One thing you really should think about.. is posting something like this on the internet! Employers / potential employers do internet searches, and something like this could cost you a position. You have an easily identifiable image of yourself... that could cause issues for you later, when you are trying to move on. Just something to think about it. Anything shared on the net, can show up anywhere... and usually will!

If someone refuses to hire me because I suffer from an illness that I can't control and attempted suicide, then I don't want to work for them anyway. I regret what I did, but in no way am I ashamed of myself for who I am.

All that being said, I tried using a different picture where the flame doesn't look like it's going up my nose and I used a closer crop to try to bring focus to the picture better. Thoughts?


IMG_8407 Burning Past 1 by SteveH8231, on Flickr
 

bunny99123

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I get it! The message is clear, if you love someone who has tried to kill them self. I use to be a high school teacher and suicide is unfortunately common.. To get to the point you are presenting now must have been a hard road. A photo says so much, especially to teenagers.

People do not hide having a heart condition, but others are suppose to hide having a mental illness. They are both an illness. If more people would be open about mental illness and people accept it like any other condition, then more people would not try to harm themselves. So many individuals could be helped.
 
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Hof8231

Hof8231

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Great photograph :)

Thank you!

I get it! The message is clear, if you love someone who has tried to kill them self. I use to be a high school teacher and suicide is unfortunately common.. To get to the point you are presenting now must have been a hard road. A photo says so much, especially to teenagers.

People do not hide having a heart condition, but others are suppose to hide having a mental illness. They are both an illness. If more people would be open about mental illness and people accept it like any other condition, then more people would not try to harm themselves. So many individuals could be helped.

I agree completely. I couldn't have said it better. If my illness was something more "socially acceptable" nobody would care that I am doing a photography project on it. But since it's on depression and suicide, a lot of people think it's strange or even get offended by it. The people I have shown my pictures to who suffer from the same illness I do love the pictures. They say they can relate to them very well, and that's all that matters to me. I do this for myself and for those who suffer from the same problems but maybe are having trouble convincing themselves to seek help. I absolutely HATE how suicide or depression is something people just don't talk about or take seriously. I know some people who have told me my depression is just an excuse. I tell them to consider themselves lucky they've never experienced a true depressive episode.

Ideally, I want to change the outlook on depression. I want it to be recognized as a serious illness, just like any other illness. I want people to become educated about it and be willing to accept it and talk about it. I feel that it would help people who suffer from depression feel more accepted and more confident in seeking help. Can I do it? I don't know. Probably not by myself. But it's a goal that I'm sticking to and am willing to devote my life to.
 

bunny99123

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My prayers are with you! I pray you are successful! I have 2 precious friends who are Bipolar. I don't like that name! They have been my friends for many years and yes, I have been through many suicide attempts with them.

Your correct education is the key. My son suffered from depression at the age of 13. I knew what the signs were and he got help. He still has it from time to time.

I want people to see you and know that more teenagers are suffering from it than what people think.
 

Tony S

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For better "flammage" try a smathering of rubber cement on the image. It should give you a nice orange looking flame and more time to work with the shot since the photo itself will take longer to burn since the glue will be burning first. Rubber cement is a tool used a lot in sports photography to put flames to balls and bats.
 

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