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Alfred
Digital Photograph
20 x 30 in
   
   
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statement
Belonephobia is the exaggerated or irrational fear of pins and needles. Coulrophobia is the fear of clowns. Orinitophobia is an abnormal, irrational fear of birds. I suffer from all three and this work is my temporary cure.

These phobias have a debilitating effect on my body. Any situation involving needles, clowns, or birds evokes feelings of panic, terror and dread. When presented with these I suffer symptoms including, but not limited to rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, trembling, and anxiety. I avoid seeking medical attention unless absolutely necessary as a means to avoid being subjected to blood work, shots, or even the sight of needles. Pictures of clowns scare me; encounters with clowns are even more terrifying. One bird or a flock of birds; the effect is the same.

Before each photo shoot, I complete extensive preparation; it begins with theatrical makeup and costuming. A single light source is used to create a harsh light replicating the film noir effect that can be seen in Alfred Hitchcock films. My other artistic influences included Joel-Peter Witkin's manipulation of corpses, and unique poses. Also there is Joshua Hoffine's recreation of the fear in a child's imagination.

Three additional common fears that are also depicted in my work are the fear of reptiles, the fear of falling, and the fear of the dark. Reptiles have a stare that can make one feel uncomfortable and they are known for being unpredictable. Many of my models are staring directly into the camera lens in an effort to make the viewer feel uncomfortable much like a reptile's stare. The dark backgrounds produce a 3D effect that envelops the viewer. This allows the viewer to experience the work in interesting ways. Other times the images provoke the feeling that the viewer is falling either over the image or away from it.

My audience may not share my phobias, but the images are meant to cause a reaction. The best treatment for these fears is desensitization. I use my photography to desensitize myself and help me work through my fears. The photography shoots were difficult for me, but the help and support of my friends and family, propelled me through the suffering, and I am now closer to conquering my phobias.

Jessica Eanes
2010
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