Phantom Limb

A bit about this new and continuing project:

The idea behind this series is to liken having a “phantom limb,” or pain that comes from something no longer present, to our individual experiences, both in our own past and present, but also to relate the phantom limb phenomena to the collective human experience. It’s a very lonely part of life, how we react to the loss of not just people but parts of our lives that disappear, whether suddenly or gradually, sometimes due to our own choices but many times not, just as individuals react differently and, at times unpredictably and inexplicably, to the physical loss of a limb. However, we all have to deal with loss, change, and grief, and this is something that unites us as humans.  All images included are documentary in nature, are not staged, and parts of images have been manipulated to show something fading and in essence, becoming a sort of “phantom limb.” This limb does not have to be a specific person, but an idea or part of life that starts to disappear, and whatever the loss is, the residue from the experience emotionally alters us and causes us to pause and contemplate what exactly it is that we’ve lost, or paradoxically, and often unknowingly, gained through the loss.

Along with this, it is important to note it was once thought that a person’s neural tapestry is set at birth, that it cannot change in a lifetime. It is now known that through the process of neurogenesis and neurodarwinism, one’s neuromatrix can change, memories can be altered, brains can be “rewired,” and memories can transfer, even if not as vivid, to new neurons regenerated as a person develops new habits and ways to cope with physical loss, as with a part of the body, or with emotional loss, grief, nostalgia, or reliving important moments of the past. This work is also meant to call into question ideas such as: do we really appreciate things as they are happening or are these instances missed only when they are gone? Do experiences really disappear or do parts of them stick around infinitely? Is recollecting them and reliving experiences, even only in our thoughts, harmful or can it be healthy? And ironically, much like basing many of our memories on photographs we see of past events when we are older, are our memories accurate, or do we attach inaccuracies to them as we have new experiences and gain new insights?

selected images from from the series: