How Rowan Renee Explores Trauma Through Their Photos

“The impulse to create Bodies of Wood came from a dream, or rather a nightmare that made it clear that the only way to heal was to talk about what happened,” says photographer Rowan Renee (they/them) to the Phoblographer in an interview. “The culture of shame and silence around any kind of abuse within the family is a powerful force, but it’s particularly strong for victims of incest.” Rowan was always fascinated by antique cameras, and so took a workshop at the Penumbra Foundation. That’s where they really started to hone their skills and eventually create Bodies of Wood.

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Deafening Sound: An Important Look at Gender Based Violence

All images by Annie Flanagan. Used with permission.

“I don’t know how your mind changes after being raped,” says Annie Flanagan when asked about the mental impact of their college rape. They continue, “that’s fucking impossible for me to pinpoint and not so simple for words.” As artists, we have the opportunity to channel our pain into creativity. So, to process their trauma, Annie picked up the camera. Years later, looking to connect with people who shared a story similar to theirs, they began the project, Deafening Sound. Following the lives of women trying to recover from abusive relationships, the project highlights a distressing reality that is difficult to digest. But this is important work and it teaches us about the lasting effects of domestic abuse.

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