REDEFINE healing through photography | feature by Dawndra Budd

REDEFINE healing through photography | feature by Dawndra Budd

Tell us about what drives your work, How did you get started?

I stumbled upon photography in college. I took a black and white film class and I used my friend as a model, I have been hooked ever since.

I remember thinking how amazing it was that we transformed her into a different version of herself that day. That escape from reality was compelling for me back then.

 

 Share with us, how photographers can help in the healing process after devastating accidents

Art therapy! I love it.

You can help people look at themselves differently. You can make them feel beautiful or powerful, and you can remind them that they are a part of something bigger. Showing your subjects a beautiful moment otherwise forever gone is a pretty powerful tool. I love to tweak those moments, to extract them to a place they normally would have never gone to, both physically and/or mentally.

The first photographs that my Iceland muse and I made together after her accident was of her partially nude body, bearing all scars. This was difficult for her, but she said it was the first time she felt beautiful since her accident. She needed to embrace her new body and to love it.

In Iceland, you feel small. You forget your problems as you drive and gaze upon Icelandic horses, miles of adorable sheep, rainbows, glaciers, mountains, storms, abandoned farms, oceans, black sand, mammoth waterfalls, and all within a days time.

And then you insert yourself into this dreamy landscape, to somehow become a part of its magic. It can be quite healing.

What is the most compelling detail about these images

Besides the beautiful backdrop of Iceland, Britt herself is the most compelling aspect. The fact that she lived through being hit by a car going 45 mph is mind-blowing. And then she made it all the way to Iceland, so far from home. She really learned what she was made of over there, it was a beautiful thing. We could have (and almost did) choose a nice relaxing beach to sit on for seven days, but the healing powers of Iceland called to us.

Britt’s mother played the biggest role in her daughter’s amazing recovery. I think that she is a magical fairy(for real).

Imagine her mother seeing these images for the first time, now that was a triumphant moment.

What was the biggest obstacle to creating these images

The weather was pretty unpredictable. We drove for hours every day. I was very cold and there were a lot of tourists. All of that aside, my biggest concern was for my lovely subjects well being.

She wanted to visit a warm river so bad that she decided we would hike an hour and a half get to it. This was A LOT for her. She had shattered her pelvis and then grew a phantom bone out of her leg, she had brain damage. She broke her neck. She had been through hell. On the way down that mountain, tears streamed down her face from the pain and from happiness. She had been in a wheelchair not six months ago.

She blew me away every day.

In fact just a few weeks before we set out, she was unable to walk very far at all. I thought maybe this would be too much, I was very concerned.

She is as tough as they come, this trip showed her that.

You traveled specifically for these images, any more plans for a shoot outside of your location

Britt and I would love to revisit her life after the accident this summer, and we are thinking maybe a road trip to the redwoods.

She is Australian and we both dream of doing something epic over there, fingers crossed!

 

What gear was used on this trip?

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