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Emily Elkins

MA work

Alarm System

The internal landscape is a heavily explored space after a lifelong history of mental illness. Through a staged setting this landscape is recreated to convey the all-encompassing effects of crippling anxiety she experiences. By the coating of a room in a dizzying pattern, she represents a visual and mental hijacking. The pattern in the image originates from a recreation of a mental image repeatedly on loop during an anxious period caused by mental illness triggers, such as storms. The image July 29th is of a severe storm that caused flooding and gale force winds on the streets of a coastal New Jersey town. While the image Alarm System is a response to anxiety the two images in conjunction with one another place the literal and the imagined side-by-side to show the complicated dichotomy of the internal and external experience. 

Info

  • MA Degree

    School

    School of Arts & Humanities

    Programme

    MA Photography, 2018

  • Elkins transforms her photographs by creating patterns that vary, depending on the viewer, from jarring to calming, mimicking her own reactions to stress such as hyperventilation or reciting phrases repeatedly.  Her life-long history of mental illness, anxiety primarily, has influenced her practice by focusing on the vibrational elements repeated imagery creates. From her fixation on repetition she creates staged scenes of familiar places coated in the endless pattern to create a new space for one to contemplate their own imaginary perceptions of space, both internal and external. 

    While the recreated and patterned image is at the centre of her practice, the unaltered external landscape also has an important role to play by recording physical movement from anxiety such as shaking. The image is otherwise unchanged and depicts familiar scenes which we are all capable of viewing. The two types of images in conjunction with one another place the literal and the imagined side-by-side to show the complicated dichotomy of the internal and external experience. 

    Her goal isn’t for the work to stay in a personal place, but instead to mature into something that adds to the social commentary of psychological illnesses that her and so many others are afflicted by.

  • Degrees

  • BFA Photography, Parsons The New School for Design, 2015
  • Exhibitions

  • PhotoFEAST, Parsons The New School, 2014; Graduate Show, Thierry Goldberg Gallery, New York, New York, 2015; Babeland Collective, The Living Gallery, Brooklyn, New York, US 2015; Offprint London, Tate Modern, 2017; Offprint London, Tate Modern, 2018
  • Publications

  • PhotoFEAST Zine, Parsons The New School, 2014; WYSIWYG Design Journal, inaugural issue, 2015; Scanner Bedding, Self-published, 2018