The 1st from a series based on my own experiences of mental illness. I'm trying to approach the subject in a slightly more delicate, subtle way. If you don't understand the subtext, please feel free to ask or check the comments I've already answered (or failing that just appreciate it as a pretty picture, but please don't insult my personal interpretation).
Model, concept, styling by me
Please do not use my work for your manipulations.. If you post to a blog, always link back, thanks kindly.
This image captures accurately a mentally-ill person in distress. They want to hold onto the simple, understandable things of childhood, yet they are an adult. The adult things in life are frightening: they do not ever want to go there. The photo also works on the level of nudity and "clothedness": to me, the gauzy skirt can be as much something from childhood as the swing. Little girls seem forever to be dressing up as ballerinas and dancing (like my daughter! ) The nudity portrays the person's state of mind: they have been stripped of the safety and understandability of childhood and thrust into the critical, unblinking gaze of adulthood.
To me the swing itself is symbolic of mental illness, especially bipolar. It's essentially a pendulum, always moving between two extremes. The woman in the photo has managed to stop the endless movement between extremes, but still cannot quite escape the swing for the safety of solid ground. Her desperation to cling to her lost youth adds another layer to the photo. The swing has stopped, but she can't quite let go.
Great photo, layered with meaning. Thank you for sharing it.
The swing and how you're holding on to it does indeed convey the feeling of not wanting to let go of childhood (as you mentioned) and I think combining this with the "princess" dress adds even more punch to the image! Also, I'm not sure if that part was intended or not, but using this swing that seems to be somewhere in the middle of nowhere (instead of one where other people can be seen or imagined) does, I feel, illustrate the isolation that is (too) often felt by those suffering from mental illness.