[READ TIME 4 MIN]
WE CAUGHT UP WITH OLD FRIEND & PHOTOGRAPHER JIM EYRE TO TALK ABOUT AN EXPERIENCE THAT CHANGED HIS OUTLOOK & PERSONAL LIFE FOREVER.
JIM, WE’VE BEEN A BIG FAN OF YOUR WORK FOR A LONG TIME – AS YOU KNOW 😉 HOW DID YOU FIRST GET INTO IT?
Thank you so much for the kind words in this question and for all your support you have shown me on my photographic journey. I am not formally educated in the medium of photography so my journey has been one that relies heavily on my eyes and the quest of trying to record what I am seeing whilst trying to communicate my feelings. I use this process as an escape from myself and to stop my mind getting in my way.
HOW DID YOU DEVELOP YOUR STYLE?
In my view, the word “style” is a restrictive cross to bear and can be a short hand way to make art easier to consume. I believe visual voices change constantly and this also applies to me. There is however one common thread in my work, and that is to communicate a story of a feeling through image making. This is a passion that I am constantly exploring visually and in any medium.
TELL US A BIT ABOUT WHAT HAPPENED TO YOU IN SEPT 2018:
Where to start with this question…I will try! Going running was “me time”. It put me in a positive space, ready for the day and all that being a husband and dad of four children throws at you. Leaving early was my routine. 4:30AM, stretch, water, and out the door by 5:00. At 5:05AM on September 6, I had a stroke. I collapsed on the street. I tried to get up but could not due to paralysis. A final attempt to move left me with my right arm twisted behind my back. I laid still and calmly slipped into an unconscious state. After an hour a passing woman saved me. I was rushed to Hospital and a blood clot was removed from my brain. Then the hopelessness of my situation became real. I could not speak or move. I felt horror at the thought of being bed-ridden. I had endless questions and fears. I still face challenges physically and mentally. I cannot go back to my job I had previously, but I have hope. And hope is the most beautiful of all things.
HOW HAS THAT CHANGED THE WAY YOU LIVE / LOOK AT LIFE?
Since the stroke, I continue to adjust and deal with accepting the fact that my life has changed. Fatigue, both physically and mentally, is the biggest challenge, and that continues to be a struggle as my brain keeps progressing with its rewiring.
HAS IT AFFECTED YOUR WORK?
I can’t say that I have noticed a change in my images, however I have been trying to educate myself in the area of mental health, and possibly this is being reflected through my photos. One major challenge has been the feeling of still being in recovery and that my physical and mental strength to work at projects is less than I would like.
WHAT DO YOU DO DAY TO DAY TO MANAGE YOUR MENTAL HEALTH?
IF YOU COULD GIVE ONE PIECE OF ADVISE TO SOMEONE WHO WAS STRUGGLING WHAT WOULD IT BE?
I don’t feel I am in a place to give advice to anyone; I don’t see myself as an authority on struggling or suffering. I can say that I think it helps so much to speak with others who have had a similar experience. Just sharing with someone who really has “been there” is a special kind of connection and can bring relief and a feeling of being understood.
WHAT’S NEXT FOR YOU AND YOUR WORK?
My collaboration with Natalie Christensen continues and we have been making new work and expanding the ALTEREDSTATES/ALTEREDSCAPES series into new areas. We have been recognized for our series VIRALSTATES/COVIDSCAPES by the Lucie Foundation and the Center for Photography and we have an upcoming exhibition in 2021 of a new large scale, installation piece called SHIFTINGSCAPE(S) that will be shown at Galleria Hilario Galgera in Mexico City.
FINALLY – DARK OR LIGHT?
Dark but trying to find little slivers of light somehow.
THANK YOU JIM 🖤🤍