The breakdown shoot was one of the first proper shoots that Old Soldier Media did. We'd done a bit of work around the concept with a tunic and cap in the car just trying different things. We'd done some work in a few fields with public paths exploring the theme of "returning home" and we'd had a scout for locations around the back lanes of east Kent. We found a beautiful old church that we knew we wanted to do something with but we weren't sure what exactly. Around this time we'd started to work with Rock2Recovery and so we wanted to do something about mental health.
Something we discussed was the point at which you've had enough. The point at which you finally admit to yourself that you're broken. We spoke about trying to contrive images that would be meaningful to anyone who'd ever reached that point. We wanted to show those feelings honestly, the sobbing, the tears, the anger, the hurt. We felt that to show those feelings as something natural, human, to remove the fear of feeling that and letting it happen would be powerful and hopefully helpful. It's ok, it's part of what makes us human.
We weren't long into the shoot when we realised that it needed to be real. It had to show real pain, if it didn't then it would feel like an insult, a con.
My eldest son had been premature, seriously so. Not long after his birth I'd been told he had become dangerously ill and that in all probability he wouldn't make it. I'd never really spoken about that time in my life, how lost and lonely I'd felt. How hopeless, how angry. I wanted to see if I could access those long buried and repressed feelings for this set of images.
What you see is real, real tears, real snot, real anger, real hopelessness. It hurt to go there, it still does. I couldn't have released that very intimate part of me to many, if any other than Al and my wife. Afterwards I was exhausted. It had been brutal. The first thing Al did was hug me, reassure me that it was ok and we'd got what we wanted. Honesty, integrity and something that we believe dignified that place that sadly all to many of us visit at some point in our life. I said earlier it stills hurts, yes but less than it ever has. Al gave me that. For that I will always be grateful.