I was adopted into a healthy, God-loving family when I was just two days old. Growing up, I struggled with feeling accepted into my family because I was simply “different” than they were. When I was 15, and again when I was 18, I lost both my Brother Kyle and my Sister Alyssa to cancer. Two of my most trusted and accepting best-friends were now gone, leaving me with this burdensome load of loneliness and depression.
Then, after talking to a small-group leader at my Church, he was able to introduce the Gospel to me and the beautiful fact that the Lord sent his Son Jesus to die a perfect death in place of my sins so that I can be together with him, forever. It was there where the Lord called me into His Kingdom and I felt my chains being slowly but surely broken.
For years I struggled with carrying the weight of loss, depression, anxiety, acceptance, and loneliness. By understanding and believing in the willing and wholesome sacrificial Love that God gave me, He was able to take hold of my chains and shatter them, bringing me into a Loving relationship with Him.
I believe that in this life we can all agree on one thing: we all go through struggles and pain, such as heartbreak, loss, and rejection, that leave us hoping for peace in our life. As a photographer, I am highly influenced by my own experiences and my faith. Due to circumstances in my life, I’ve wrestled with depression and anxiety and it left me feeling empty and alone. Then, I discovered Christ and my faith in him gave me peace and allowed me to be joyful in those circumstances. I have found photography to be a creative tool to share about the incomparable hope I have.
Incomparable Hopeis a film photography series that describes the lives of three individuals and how they each discovered hope. I created three photographs per person to describe their journey in life from going through trials to being free from them. Light is a key component within my work and I applied it to this series to symbolize the progression of hope within each person’s life. The darkest image is symbolic of their struggles and the lightest is symbolic of the freedom they experience. The middle image shares the moment they discovered their hope. Finally, I asked each person to write a short testimony of their story so that the viewer can first reflect on the images and then read directly from the individual. My goal is to share each person’s story as truthfully as possible using my tool as a photographer.
My decision to create my senior show with film photography became apparent after my first film class. Today, digital photography is widespread and an effective tool, but I have found film to have an intimacy that can’t be obtained through a digital lens. It intrigues me to watch a blank piece of paper come to life with an image I made in the darkroom. I love getting to use my hands to make edits on my image. I take pleasure knowing that a part of me is actually viewable in my work. The hours in the quiet darkroom also give me time to reflect and enjoy a peaceful moment while creating my work.
My desire with this series is to share the hope these few individuals have found through the struggles they experienced. In return, I ask the viewer not to look at these experiences as unique, but to reflect on their own and to question, “Have I found hope in my life?” I advise them not to leave without thinking deeply about the trials in their life. Each of these people have a story to tell and they all end in this hope they have put their trust in. With this series, I want to encourage the viewer to know that they are not alone in their suffering and hope is there to be found.
Silver Gelatin Print
© 2019 Jessica Sanders, All Rights Reserved
Film Photography, Black and White, Testimonies, Testimony, Photography