Practitioner Laia Abril – Abortion

I watched Liai’s June 24th, 2020 lecture at Falmouth and have studied her project on her website. I used some of her images in a CRJ post on the power of objects. I want to focus here on a statement she made that she ‘is not an activist’. I was watching the recording so could not ask her about this but it made me think deeply.

As I study her work I see it is important that she carries out ‘visual research undertaken through historical and contemporary comparisons’ and ‘documents and conceptualises the dangers and damages caused by women’s lack of legal, safe and free access to abortion.’ ‘Her collection of visual, audio and textual evidence weaves a netof questions about ethics and morality, and reveals a staggering series of social triggers, stigmas, and taboos around abortion that have been invisible until now.’ (Abril, 2020)

I will check with her but it might be that she is documenting and raising awareness rather than going around the world shouting and demonstrating there need to be new laws on abortion. It is a fine line as the activism is implicit within the work shown.

What interests me about her work is her bold presentation of the consequences of the current abortion laws around the world. This is a fact. It relates to an element of my own work for my FMP. I am at the other end of the timescale where the laws impacting a persons ability to end their life when it is no longer bearable also leads to horrible situations in some countries.

If my wife, Karen, had lived in Belgium, Holland or Spain she would have been able to end her life at home. In Spain there is a move to change the law but it is going to take a while. As a result my wife had to travel 1600 kms in two ambulances and a private jet with private medical staff for her wishes to be met.

To date my FMP has focussed on my struggle with Karen’s illness but Laia’s confident, powerful and essential work makes me consider if I should be as bold and confident about Karen’s wishes to end her life with an assisted suicide in Switzerland. Many have encouraged me to skirt around the subject because opinions are so strong and polarised. Laia makes me think the strength and polarisation of opinion is a reason to take the subject head on. If I do so Laia’s approach is an impressive model to base work on.

References

Abril, Laia. 2020. A History of Misogyny – Chapter 1 – On Abortion. [online] Available at https://www.laiaabril.com/ (accessed: 22nd July,2020).

Categories: Contextual Research FMP, Final Major Project

LEN

I am a Photographer. As well as taking many photographs I am currently studying for an MA in Photography at Falmouth University. I will direct my attention through the lens of my camera for the next couple of years and see what shows up. I see a photograph as a little bit of magic capturing a moment in time. If successful it surprises and engages your emotions. It tells a story about the wonders of being alive or tells us what we need to change to make it a better world to live in. That is enough for me to get going and then like walking a 1000 miles, which I did across the UK in 2010, or walking 200 miles across Cyprus, which I did in November last year, it is one step at a time.

I was a writer. The title of my unpublished book was ‘You Would Have Done The Same.' It is about a successful guy in love with his wife who lets her die when he discovers her in the process of committing suicide. The title gives a clue as to what I think you would have done. The book is 200 pages long. I found it cathartic to write it but after two years of work and reviewing with agents decided it probably needed another 2000 hours to get the whole book up to the standard of some of the pages. Writing is great but it is a lot of sitting down so I decided to get out and walk, play tennis, play bridge, go birding, watch football at Nottingham Forest, Arsenal and Valencia and anywhere else if I can, meditate, cook and eat. I was a writer who has so far failed to become an author.
I was a young man who loved Mathematics and thoroughly enjoyed getting a BSc at Liverpool University. While there I went often to Anfield and the Philharmonic Hall. I was all set on doing a PhD until I went for interview practice at BP and got seduced by the excitement of an International business career. BP was a great adventure building trading teams and businesses in London, Antwerp, Cleveland Ohio and Singapore. Fabulous people and some great challenges and also very hard work, constant jet lag and lots of fun along the way. I married Karen, my stunning wife, and had the most amazing time with her and our three boys Alex, Tom and Dan. She has multiple sclerosis and we have taken on many challenges together but somehow keep creating a new normal against the horrors thrown our way. She is the love of my life.

After BP I decided to coach senior executives and quickly realized I had a lot to learn
about what makes people tick. I had a fantastic 18 months on the International Programme of the Cleveland Gestalt Institute. A great faculty and a
wonderful group of people on the programme. We studied and worked in Dingle, Singapore, Holland, Cape Town and
Lisbon. This also got me interested in the way we think and make decisions so I studied for an MSc in Psychology atUniversity College London in 2010. The
Masters was in Cognitive and Decision Sciences and I found it fascinating what
we do know but also how much we don’t know about how we think and make
decisions.

I loved coaching and making a difference. I got a number of people to hear themselves, remove some of their own chains and free up the way they thought about the world. I remain fascinated by how people react to and engage with the world. My Masters thesis was why do two people given the same information make different decisions? Put simply, it is because each of us are unique in the way we are constructed.

Since returning from Singapore I found English winters tough so moved to Spain where I now live. The people are lovely, the scenery amazing, food delicious and the sun shines all the time. Almost.

All of these experiences will feed in to my time now as a Photographer. Three motivations I am lucky to have are enthusiasm, curiosity and a continuous interest in learning. All the time I look forward to meeting old friends and making new friends and experiencing this wonderful life together.