Recently I became a part of MAD. MAD is an organization that unites artists for change. Art has many forms and is a way to tell a story when you have no words, no strength, possibly no hope.
Roots to Willows Photography is partnering with a non-profit MAD (make a Difference through Art) and this years theme is child sexual abuse. This image is based on the art created by the victim covering a mannequin with ripped up pieces of the bible in an attempt at covering herself with words of protection. This symbolizes her strength in using her voice to set herself free and now being so strong to help others free themselves too. Too many stay silent.
I wanted the image to reflect the strength of her voice and the powerful way it set her free. When I arrived to shoot the session Renee was having a rough time and found a model to portray her instead. After all, it is a painful process no matter how necessary. As we started wrapping the model in newspaper I caught sight of a tattoo of doves flying on her chest. It was the exact tattoo I had wanted for so many years. Renee oddly enough had the same tattoo. It was just the sign I needed that that was exactly where I was meant to be at that moment. After the shoot a flock of white doves followed alongside of my truck the whole way home and when I pulled up the images and looked closer I saw this…
The paper we had her rip off and throw to the wind looked like doves flying away. Straight out of camera! I looked up the meaning of the doves and found "Peace, Love, Purity". Purity… wow just WOW!
Part of Renee's therapeutic process was ripping words out of the bible, burning the edges and covering the body of mannequins in an effort to protect and keep it safe. At first she was worried people may criticize her for doing this to the Bible but the process was warmly received and so she began her journey with putting her art and in a way her body out there in its new way of being received. The last image of the 3 image set "Burning" was created to symbolize the last part of her process. Oddly enough I remembered hearing that often times children who have been sexually abused set fires. Intrigued I asked Renee why she burnt the edges. Her response was that it was a rebellious act that gave her a sense of power.
The night I finished this image was the night of the super/blood moon. The blood moon is said to be a part of a prophecy that something very special is about to take place. I looked up the ancient meaning of burning and to my surprise it spoke of cleansing and renewal. Fire symbolized the heart of the people. I must agree. All signs point to Keep Me Safe changing lives. I've had people FEEL something from looking at these images. Who knew that mannequins in a field could bring so many lost souls to a point of realization that it was time for them to speak up and free themselves.
Interview with Ground Roots Productions and MAD: