BUTTERFLIES CHAPTER I
Butterflies is a long term project on mental health.
In Ancient Greece, drifting souls were often represented by butterflies symbols. This was a direct link to Psyche, the soul goddess, who was similarly depicted with delicate Lepidoptera wings. When looking for a title for my work on the mental condition, I wanted a word that elevated the individuals I had met above the stale socially created traumas and stigmatizations, which had ruined their lives. The word “Butterflies” soon imposed itself as an image of a delicate but radiant state of being. A description of freedom constantly terrorized by the outside world and an unstable condition made splittable by a misplaced caress. This soul vulnerability constantly immersed in fear became my main obsession while photographing the men and women frozen in institutions or healing centers.
The prophet is heard through the loud speakers. He is speaking in tongues. He is performing a miracle session. His loud voice is distorted by the cheap amplifier. He screams to make the devil rush out of people’s stomachs. There are five rooms filled with people who are chained by the ankle. An alienated inmate attempts to pick a fight with the pastor. He cannot move past the short extension of his chain. The pastor is humiliating him, gesticulating around him, acting as if in a boxing ring. It’s my first time seeing people treated this way but I cannot make sense out of my own emotions. I move around the rooms in a state of dissociation. It’s the beginning.