Article today in Ireland, about using photography to explore the process (and recovery from) the photographer's own hysterectomy -- and a related exhibition and book that came from that process:
The article, titled "Sonya through a glass darkly", starts this way:
"Sonya Whitefield, from Co Tyrone, reacted to her hysterectomy by picking up her camera and the resulting exhibition is shocking Belfast. Jane Hardy reports
Monday, 15 March 2010
Sonya Whitefield's exhibition at the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, was inspired by her illness which resulted in a hysterectomy
At first glance, these legs look as if they belong to a ballerina, or maybe a girl just back from her first prom. On closer inspection, you realise the stockings are surgical, the pretty skirt a hospital gown and the owner is en route to theatre for surgery.
At the Golden Thread Gallery, Belfast, a red brick temple to modern art, there is an exhibition of photographs that is provoking quite a reaction. The Journey of the Hysterectic Woman has so far caused at least two viewers to need a glass of water and a quick sit down.
The exhibition "The Journey of the Hysterectic Woman" runs until March 18 at the Golden Thread Gallery (tel 9033 0920, www.goldenthreadgallery. co.uk ).
Gallery owner Peter Richards comments: The reactions have been fairly extreme, which is good. These women were reminded of something in their own experience, I think.
The show is not for the squeamish as it creatively records the actual experience of a hysterectomy, including close-ups of surgical stitching and shots of the uterus being carried away for burial in a minuscule coffin.
Photographer and artist Sonya Whitefield (48) has bravely confronted the kind of subject matter most of us still consign to private whispered conversations.
She is an unusual woman.
Pre-operatively, not many of us would have an epiphany while staring at those unflattering over-white surgical stockings you have to put on to avoid thrombosis.
But Sonya experienced something fairly incredible as she lay in her bed at Craigavon Hospital two years ago waiting to be wheeled to theatre for an early hysterectomy.
She recalls: I looked down at my white nightie and these surgical stockings and suddenly felt like Alice in Wonderland. I reached for my camera, took a photo, and was on a kind of endorphin high. It just lifted my whole mood.
The result is a truly iconic shot that adorns the exhibition fliers.
article continues on webpage given above -- DEFINITELY worth reading in full!