DAY 22 - Steve Jewitt
Running on Fumes
“This is a personal project in which I hope to demonstrate my perception during the last few months of an addiction to opiates and heroin.
It was important to me to convey this experience from a conceptual level as opposed to the hard-hitting reaction grabbing pictures that are usually made on the subject of addiction. I wanted to focus on how it feels to be in this kind of situation rather than what it necessarily looks like.
I would like to say at this point that I have no distain for works such as Cocaine True Cocaine Blue by Eugene Richards or much of the work by Gareth McConnell. Rather they are two artists that have influenced me greatly and continue to do so. Eugene Richards in particular appears to move easily along the documentary to conceptual scale (if such a thing exists) and Gareth McDonnell approaches the conceptual in a fascinating way that I hope is reflected in my own work.
But I would like to explore this subject from a different angle. For such a broad topic as that of addiction, I think it requires many projects to even begin to represent the subject as a whole – or at least as close as photography can ever truly come. As such I have tried to be precise in what this project in particular represents.
It has been my aim in this collection of work to reflect the mood and emotion of the individual addict and how the details of their environment can come to represent the experience of addiction itself. I will play with metaphor throughout the work as a way of communicating this with the viewer. Some of the images I have created, for example, are evocative of heroin itself and represent triggers in the environment for its user.
I used a digital camera as a means to capture a large number of images and because of the convenience of development that it enables me. When the work is finished, I intend for the project to be displayed on A0 prints in triptych style in the gallery.
I have sequenced the images in order to blend the chaotic with the mundane – both of which are staples in the life of a heroin addict. I have also included some softer pictures to represent the sedative almost trance like state that an addict regularly finds themselves in. These are also a reminder of the never-ending search and struggle for peace and beauty experienced by each junkie.
My hope, in summary, is that this work begins to show some of the emotions that the user can go through and the emotional wilderness that they often find themselves in. I have shown it as the user sees it – a perception of the world in which they are a few more inches back into their mind than the average person, always unable to take hold of what is immediately in front of them. In essence I have tried to show a distant view of reality.” - JEWITT