Project Presentation: Group Workshop – Saturday 23rd March 2019

As part of the final outcome of the FMP along with the Pop up Exhibition I also wanted to share the techniques that I had learnt with others.

I had a group of 4 participants and I taught them the techniques of Stop Look Breathe Create – which were steps I learnt from the book of the same title by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh.

These were steps that were really beneficial and I used in the capturing of the images for the project.

I set out three tasks that I thought would really help to notice things that they had never noticed before in a location that I knew each of the participants would have been to on many occasions.

The first Activity was just to notice how the world felt to the body by thinking about how the ground felt beneath their feet and this prompted them to take photographs of the ground.

Another was to find colour – this was a very successful activity and where objects that they never noticed before really came to the forefront.

The final activity was to write a word in the sand that made them feel negatively – we then watched the waves wash away that word. This made everyone feel reflective about their experience.

The overwhelming reaction was that after the workshop everyone felt a little more relaxed than they had when they joined the workshop and it gave them something that they could do when time were getting a little tough – this meant that each of them left with a little but more of an idea of a coping strategy that could be employed to improve mental health and this was the goal – which I feel I achieved.

Project Presentation: Pop Up Exhibition at Advanced Electronics – 14th March 2019

For one of the public outcomes of my Final Major Project I held a pop up exhibition at my place of work.

My employers are currently going through a process of trying to change some of the culture habits that we have developed as a company and introduce some well being policies to assist colleagues through difficult times. With this in mind I discussed my project with some of the Senior Management Team and we decided it would be really useful to have my work open for others to see.

As someone who suffers with anxiety this was a very big personal challenge not only to speak in public but also to share the personal challenges that I have experienced over the last couple of years and explored very deeply through my project.

At the Face to Face event in Falmouth there were a couple of concerns over the display of the diary entries. There was a suggestion to have them recorded so that they could be listened to while the audience viewed – I tried this but some of the entries were still quite raw to me and I wouldn’t get them recorded in a way that would have allowed the audience to understand them as it was very emotional.

What I did decide to do was to have the sound of the lapping waves in the background, and as this was something that soothed me while creating the work did act as a comfort as I delivered my presentation.

These are some photos of how I set up the exhibition. I also have the video of my presentation.

I had some feedback forms at the end, which whilst I hoped people would enjoy the work – I don’t think I ever imaged that it would actually spark a conversation, that others would actually find the work helpful, that it made them feel better that they weren’t alone. I found this emotional, a little overwhelming – but it also helped me with the knowledge that the struggles that I have had could actually help other people to deal with their situations.

The outcome of this pop up exhibitions was really positive and I have been asked to show it again so that more people can benefit from the experience.

This experience has made me also want to share this work further – I am looking at venues again as it has given me the confidence boost to be able to do this.

Swimming Against the Tide

Photographs and words by Kirsty Logan

Artist Statement:

In March 2017 I got injured training for the London Marathon. I was devastated. Running for me was not only an activity that gave me my running family, and the chance to socialise three times a week minimum, but it was also the activity that ensured I was taking care of my mental health. When this outlet was taken away from me, I not only had to cope with the physical affects of the injury, along with a disease I did not know I was struggling with, but also a noticeable decline in the condition of my mental state.

This project is a representation of the journey I have taken in search of mental and physical recovery, and the difficulties that I have faced. I focused my imagery on the water due to the connotations it holds, there are peaks and troughs, highs and lows, rough and calm. Depth of water was another area that I wanted to look at as not only can it be used to talk about the depths of emotion an individual can feel, a common phrase when people are having a difficult time is to say that they feel out of their depth. As in Roni Horn’s Another Water, it also needs to be acknowledged that bodies of water are often place people go to end their lives when life just seems too overwhelming to carry on anymore.

It is important to also look at the positive connotations of water. Many people including myself find that sound of the ocean and lapping of other bodies of water to be extremely soothing. There are also other therapeutic benefits to water, many will find it cleansing to wash away their problems, and also individuals who suffer with joint problems are encouraged to exercise in the water to take pressure away from their bodies and assist in recovery. You could also link this to other ceremonies involving water, individuals get blessed and baptised using water, and also believe miracles occur like those who make pilgrimages to Lourdes

This brought me to Swimming Against the Tide, each image is accompanied with a diary entry to give context and was captured near my home on the Coast of North East England. I found my way to cope was to take walks and on these wanderings I captured images of the North Sea as seascapes, but also macro texture shots as a way to make sense of the emotions I was experiencing.

 The Darkest Moments - Kirsty Logan, 2019
The Darkest Moments – Kirsty Logan, 2019

4th April 2017.

So today I ended up in a moon boot, with the instruction of if I even attempted to carry on my training for the London Marathon I would be out of my mind! The Doctors are convinced the Achilles is intact but there could be a tear which explains the popping. To say that I am devastated does not even cover it. If only I could have lasted 3 more weeks.
What am I supposed to do about my charity??? I really hope no one asks for the funds back as I have no idea how I would be able to afford it!!!
Turbulence – Kirsty Logan, 2019

23rd April 2017.

I should have been in London today.
I watched all of the coverage from start to finish, willing to see my team and more importantly my training partner, who I should have been with during the highs and the lows of the 26.2 miles. I feel cheated. I cried all day, Trying to feel positive is just not on the agenda today. I feel sorry for my loved ones having to be around me. I’m a mixture of miserable, over emotional and so angry that I let this happen.
Clouding the View – Kirsty Logan, 2019

28th April 2017

Today was my first physio session. To say it went badly would be an understatement. My leg is in such a bad state he could barely touch it. The pain is exhausting to the point where I just cried throughout the treatment. He is hopeful that it will get better with time, but he is not able to put a timeline on it. He said it would have been better if it had gone through a full dislocation instead of the partial bit it had done. I just wish I could do something. I feel useless. I can’t see my running friends as I pretty much can’t walk for longer than 10 minutes! I miss them, I miss running and being able to alleviate bad thoughts through running. Instead I feel stuck, and sad and useless.
Torment – Kirsty Logan, 2019

3rd July 2017

Two months into treatment, my physio has got my leg moving again, not pain free but moving. He said I could try a run again, but only 2 lamposts in every 1k. I don’t know if it was sheer adreneline, but I didn’t follow the rules to the letter. I over did it. I now can’t move my leg properly. Almost to the point at the very beginning. I have no one to blame but myself. Going back to the haze of the painkillers, I feel bad for not following the rules, I’ve undone the hard work we had achieved. I don’t know how I could have been so silly. then there is all the “I told you so’s”!!! They just make me feel even worse that I already did.

Acceptance – Kirsty Logan, 2019

30th August 2017

I think I am coming to accept that my leg may not be the same again. This has been quite a good moment to have. Maybe it is just marathon training had taken up so much time that when running was taken away I hadn’t found the activity to fill the gap. So when I got accepted to study for my MA it was a shock to the system to actually still be able to do something well. I got my preliminary first batch on results from Uni today – I passed, this made me feel good. I met up with the girls from running group and went for a walk – I think I am beginning to just say it is OK with the pity looks and the “You’ll get there” comments


Daily Battles – Kirsty Logan 2019

12th September 2017

One thing that I have learnt since I got injured, is that everyday is a battle – Its difficult to get moving in the mornings, it difficult to stay focused on what I am trying to achieve, and its difficult to see other people just getting on with their lives when in many ways I feel so limited. I have so many things that I should feel grateful for, it just seems to hard when there are so many obstacles in the way and waves of difficulty to overcome!
I attempted to run a race to try and make myself feel normal – The actual outcome was physical, mental and emotional pain. The Great North 5K is my favourite race and holds so many happy memories for me. Though my fear now is that, memories are all I am going to have now. Crossing the line I pretty much fell in to a flood of tears when meeting my marathon training partner.
I fly on holiday tomorrow, and due to the punishment that I put myself through attempting to run – I fear I may have ruined it before I even leave the ground! I can hear my physios words in my head – “I told you it was a bad idea!”
Regression – Kirsty Logan, 2019

26th October 2017


Think I am going to christen 2017 the worst year ever. As if my bucket wasn’t already full of enough troubles, I have now been diagnosed with Anaemia! It just keeps getting better! I feel like I just need too lock myself up in a room and not come out, I think it might be safer that way. I now have a schedule of tests that I have to have to try and find out the reason for the anaemia – More hospital visits, my favourite. I have the urge to just disappear somewhere on my own in isolation and cry. I’ve had enough!

I feel like I am in a whirlpool, everything seems to be going wrong! My blood tests are all over the place, and they are getting worse!! My inflammatory markers are now high. No-one seems to be able to explain why this is all happening right now, though I am doing a tour of the hospitals visiting 3 different departments trying to find out what on Earth is wrong with me! This makes me panic, feel anxious I just have this lump in my throat the whole time. My heart hammers, and i’m just so tired. Days are tough and I feel like I am drowning. The only thing keeping me going is my family and Chris.


Strength comes from the Inside – Kirsty Logan, 2019

15th December 2018

I had my first Rheumatology appointment today. It is the first time a clinician has said its OK I can help you, I’m pretty sure I know what is going on. The Doctor asked all of my symptoms and said they are all connected. Turns out there might be an answer after all. He has set up a treatment plan for me. This felt like a turning point. Maybe I can do this maybe there is a way forward. I’m going to have injections into my ankle to help it heal. I can do this.
Confusion – Kirsty Logan, 2019

29th January 2018

I feel so confused. They injections were meant to help, they were meant to make me feel better. The actual procedure other than nearly passing out one injection to the ankle joint was bearable the injection into the plantar fascia, was like standing onto a plug and it breaking through. I’m not allowed to walk on it, but it already feels like the worst ever plantar fascitis. It burns and I feel so emotional about it.
Glimmer of Hope – Kirsty Logan, 2019

11th May 2018

I started doing the couch to 5k last week, and the sessions are going well. I can’t explain how good it feels to run again. My mood has improved . I’m not going to say that it is easy, because it isn’t I am really unfit – but it is freeing to lace up your trainers – I do have to be careful because I get carried away, and it is still painful so I really have to listen to what my body is telling me and back off the pace when I get the signals…. when I say pace I think a turtle could overtake me, BUT this is a massive step.
Levelling – Kirsty Logan, 2019

1st June 2018

I didn’t think I could get so much joy from a days work. A colleague of Chris’s said I could help out taking photos at a wedding, for some experience – I was really nervous and I could feel the anxiety in my throat but it was so good. I felt like a normal person, doing an extraordinary job, its such a privileged to be allowed into someones special day. it also made me hugely appreciative of being able to have my family and Chris around me. One of the brides had lost a lot of family, so when I went home after hearing the stories I gave everyone an extra big hug, I am so much better off than some people and I should be grateful to have most of my important people still here with me. My Grandma would have been so proud of me today.
Letting the Light In – Kirsty Logan, 2019

6th June 2018

Today I received a diagnosis and knowledge that what I have been through in the last year and a half was not in my head – it is an actual condition, and all of the things that I sustained was a disease I couldn’t have done anything about – I have Seronegative Rheumatoid Arthritis which is the Inflammatory Arthritis Family. It explains things even before my injury – how I struggled to recover after long runs for example. It has made me less angry – as if I hadn’t got injured I could have been struggling without knowing – the anaemia can be caused by the arthritis along with the anxiety and depression. I am going to be receiving medication and support to help me. I can see hope again!
Bubbling Anxiety – Kirsty Logan, 2019

15th June 2018

Today was a bad day. We had some very sad news that my cousin had left us. I hope he found peace at last. I think when things are not expected they hit you harder. It has really put me in a spin, I also felt guilt, should I have done more/ could I have done more? I cried a lot today, it made me anxious and I could feel the bubbles in my throat. I need to stay strong and talk about my feelings. I can’t bottle it up as I want to get through the grief. I’ve been reading about mental health a lot recently, I have recognised in myself that I need to take action to improve my own state of mind. I just need to find what works for me.

Regaining Calmness – Kirsty Logan, 2019

1st January 2019

Yesterday was a really emotional day. I returned to my running group to support my run group leader complete a truly amazing challenge of running a half marathon a week for a whole year. I saw a lot of my running friends many of whom I haven’t seen for a very long time and I cried A LOT. Of what I missed, of who I missed and my longing to get back to them and have my running family back around me. They give me a boost – but my recent flare ups have made this difficult for me. I was so proud of the strength of them, and from my reception, when I am ready I know I still have a place with them. This made me feel vert happy and calming in reflection. Chris and I went into Newcastle and I took some photographs and this made me happy. I have found that the photography process is my calming place, no matter how much pain I am in it is something I can do and it helps.


Light Returning – Kirsty Logan, 2019

12th January 2019

Today I went for a walk in the local woods with my Mam. I felt like a normal human. My pain was on the minimal side, and I applied the practice of mindful/contemplative photography techniques and it was a joy. I felt fully alive not just the shell I have sometimes experienced over the last couple of years. I also achieved some images I was really happy with. I can feel it getting better like when light hits water and you can see it working its way through. After a review with my consultant we can see a 25% improvement in my condition, whilst there is still a way to go and I know not everyday is going to be like this – it felt good. I am on my way back.


Breakthrough – Kirsty Logan, 2019

2nd March 2019.

I am going to be OK.
Over the last couple of months I can sense I am going to be OK, I can see the light in the sky, the sunlight on the waves the glimmering of a hopeful future. It’s been touch and go – there are things that are still going to make me overemotional – The Blue Light Choir singing “This is Me” from The Greatest Showman in Eldon Square raising money for the charity Mind was my latest example of this. I nearly cried right in the middle of the crowd – I thought of my cousin – and then I thought. I am OK, yes I am in pain, but it only proves that I am still here I am still strong and I can use my voice to help others.

“When the sharpest words wanna cut me down
I’m gonna send a flood, gonna drown them out
I am brave, I am bruised
I am who I’m meant to be, this is me”
This is me – The Greatest Showman – Songwriters Justin Paul/Benj Pasek

Final Major Project – 1:2:1 Tutorial with Wendy McMurdo – 29th January 2019

Summary:

  • Discussed the gallery meeting that I had yesterday and made a provisional booking for.
  • We discussed that a pop up event might be enough – or just the launch event.
  • Instead of doing a live talk – I could have one that is recorded.
  • Some of my close up work is not as strong as the seascapes however once I explained why these images are important I have chosen to re shoot them.
  • I need to have a think about how explicitly I want to talk about my personal issues.
  • My work needs to have beginning and ends/ ebbs and flows.

What I need to do with my work:

  • Get in touch with Digital Lab
  • Think about the type of presentation that I would like to use. My work is almost diaristic I should perhaps present it in this way.
  • Would my work be successful in a website blog type of presentation.
  • I should tell my story

Research to follow up:

  • Pre Raphaelite Art – Melancholic
  • Hamish Boulton, Simon Roberts
  • Watch Francis Alys – Ice Block in Mexico Xity
  • Bobby Baker – Mental Illness and Me

Next Tutorial: Tuesday 12th February

Final Major Project: Gallery Visit

I visited the New Bridge Project in Newcastle to view a space for an exhibition

This is an image of a preivous exhibition in the room I viewed .https://goo.gl/images/KBUWmP

I liked the space a lot but there would not be open access to it. This is something that I find concerning, as I would prefer it being a managed site after the launch event. It also means that I would need to find an alternative site for the workshop as I don’t feel that the site is safe to hold one in, in its current state.

I do have other sites to see.

Final Major Project – 1:2:1 Tutorial with Wendy McMurdo – 22nd January 2019

Summary:

I presented my draft water presentation

Although I have decided not to pursue my Alzheimer’s project it is felt that I should still clearly document it in my CRJ.

What I need to do with my Work:

Contextualisation:

  • How people see water in lots of different ways
  • bodies of water metaphor
  • I need to consider images and text
  • Use Creativity – What do I want to say – Titles
  • Exploration of my own issues is the creativity to explore aspects of the self.
  • Think about the space to just be through photography.
  • For the Falmouth F2F event, get some good prints to show and curate with Wendy

Research to Follow up:

  • Watch Simon Roberts video – vantage points
  • The Pond Moonlight – Edward Steichen
  • Andreas Gursky – River Rhine
  • Jo Spence – Photo-therapy Work – Using Self portraiture
  • Susan Derges – River Taw
  • Hiroshi Sugimoto – Seascapes
  • Roni Horn – Another Water ( Look at the Tate, This project is loaded with important information for me) Water, Bridges, Suicide.
  • Ian McEwan and Robert McFarlane – Writing about water, landscapes and walking
  • Look at the CRJ of previous students to fully understand the presentation of the final outcome
  • Research Workshops looking at collaborative practice.

Next Tutorial: 29th January

Final Major Project – Project Development – 15th January 2019

Mindfulness and Photography: Going with the flow.

Whilst I am not sure if mindfulness is the correct term it was the first steps I took in trying to process what it was that I wanted to look at in terms of mental health and photography in relation to my own experience.

I had been working through social media when I came across an image by a photographer I know who had spent the afternoon learning to capture reflections in water and how refreshed she felt afterwards.

I took this a a cue. As I have previously advised whenever I feel difficulties arising I take myself away to sit beside the water and let the sights and sounds wash over me and wait until I feel better.

I felt this was definitely the way that I needed to take my project and try out capturing the movement of the water as it is this element that I find important and turn it to be creative.

I took the images I had taken during one of my walks and edit them to be a bit more meaningful.

I was very pleased with the outcome and it has given me a really clear route forward.

Not only is this work in development helping me with my own well being, it is also allowing me to reintroduce some of the macro photography that I started my MA journey with. This is a real joy to me.