Metamorphosis, from the Awakenings series
Brainfog, from the Perceiving Identity series
“Neurology’s favourite word is ‘deficit’, denoting an impairment or incapacity of neurological function: loss of speech, loss of language, loss of memory, loss of vision, loss of dexterity, loss of identity and myriad other lacks and losses of specific functions (or faculties).”
These self-portraits from larger bodies of work, Awakenings and Perceiving Identity, are part of a photographic journey that explores Hannah’s feelings of uncertainty, fear, loss and liberation, intuitively delving into and questioning the notion of this neurological ‘lack’. A dreamlike state; pulsating in and out of consciousness grasping onto the minutiae in the hope for clarity in the pronouncement and acceptance of her Multiple Sclerosis diagnosis and the impact of this on past, present and future.
“’How do you feel?’
‘How do I feel?’ He repeated and scratched his head. ‘I cannot say I feel ill. But I cannot say I feel well. I cannot say I feel anything at all.’
Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Losses (Picador: 2011), pg3.
Oliver Sacks, The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat, Losses (Picador: 2011), pg38-39.
I find Hannah’s pieces especially powerful, beautiful and thought provoking.
This work has a personal resonance for me as I grew up with a mother who had MS. Now as an artist facilitator I work with artists who have hidden disabilities. I have experienced and become aware of some of their frustrations, issues around access, and the sometimes dismissive attitude of others, which many people in these circumstances face.
I hope the community engages with new insight and awareness around the challenges uncovered by this exhibition.Christine, member of the project’s curatorial group
Hannah Laycock (1982) was born and grew up in the north-east coast of Scotland. A Fine-art photographer, holds a BA (Hons) in photography, specialises in portrait photography, currently inspired by her diagnosis with Multiple Sclerosis in 2013. Her subtle, contemplative and sensuous work on MS contributes to contemporary photography, particularly art and portrait photography, and to illness narratives that come in various forms in contemporary culture: from memoirs to performance art.
She has exhibited nationally and internationally in India as part of Fòcas Scotland (2017), Canada for Feminist Photography Network’s Exchanges: Dialogues, Hesitation & Creation exhibition(2018). In 2020 she featured on the BBC Radio 4 documentary, Pause the Plié, exploring whether or not an artist can find an equally satisfying creative outlet, when the one they’ve known is no longer available to them. In 2017 a short documentary film Making the Invisible Visible was produced about her for Wex Photo Video, More Than An Image campaign looking at the power of photography.