Up from Under by Ashley McDowell
Photographer Ashley McDowell has created a stunning personal narrative that I wanted to share with you all today. The narrative addresses pain, loss, sadness, and ultimately, hope.
The series Up From Under specifically addresses and reflects a family that is recovering, whose family member's lives are shaken and changed by the course of events. The narrative depicts an addict, and the emotional and physical toll it takes not only on the addict, but all those who surround the person.
Here is what Ashley has written about her work, Up from Under:
"I began photographing my sister as a means to understanding her life. A life that at one time was almost entirely led by an addiction to heroin. I started by documenting her tightly knit world of desperation and fear. In this exposure of pain, I show a family that has been torn apart and pieced back together, only to be left in constant turmoil. This is the rollercoaster that is addiction, demonstrated by images of pleasure and plain echoing back and forth. Together we reveal the emotional and physical anguish of this all-too-familiar narrative – often hidden from outsiders."
"Through this decade long journey of dependency and recovery, the circumstances of our lives have changed and in turn so has the work. It is constantly evolving, as we move into our new roles. My sister, now a mother is pictured with her daughter on a bed, showing an intimate moment after waking from a nap. The simultaneous vulnerability and strength illustrates just how complicated this role is. Similarly I explore the intricacies of my own relationship with my sister, how it grows and changes over time. My attempt is to show my understanding of the complexities of our family dynamic, the journey to recovery and back again."