In the Expressive Arts Therapy Emphasis at Goddard College where I teach, students use Expressive Arts practices as a way to reflect on and to constellate theoretical materials that have been read or experienced in other ways. After reading and writing academically, a creative piece often emerges that embodies the experience of a particular topic related to study in our Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program.
Here, student Phil Bowman reflects on his experience studying Psychopathology. He created photographs that express his response to the theoretical writings he about the “diagnoses” that are related to the considerations of mental illness per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM ) and also from the perspective of Buddhist Psychology. Here is Phil’s statement and his artwork:
“This series of sixteen photographs is the expressive arts component for my final project for PSY/CMH 700, Psychopathology. They represent a very personal interpretation of very specific psychological disorders as described in the DSM. I attempted to match the internal feelings that were conjured by the DSM descriptions of each disorder to the feelings I felt when I spent time taking in each photograph.
All of the photos in this submission are created by moving a camera using various slow shutter speeds. My intent was to use the world as a palette and to imitate brushstrokes with motion. With this technique I attempt to see the unseen–the light that is registering with our eyes as we move our head, but which our brain is constantly interpreting as solid object. Perhaps other living beings see the world more like this?
None of these shots have been “Photoshopped” or cropped apart for some sharpening and light balancing; what you see is what the camera sensor actually “sees”. With experience, I learned how to move the camera to create specific brush strokes with natural and man-made objects. By controlling focal length, focus, shutter speed, rate of motion, and range of motion I can create predictable effects. With practice, I think that a technique can be developed for using the camera much as a painter uses a paintbrush for creating beautiful, unworldly abstracts.”