The sheep looks ‘benign, at peace.” – John Ardwell Dark Days
Whilst I am supposed to look at John Adwell’s Dark Days the horrific events of the foot and mouth disease are just too disturbing to look at. Despite being an animal lover after living through the epidemic in Scotland I have no intention to even look at it nor would many I imagine. I suppose that’s why the course included such an emotional image for those who wouldn’t go and look. Whenever I see that beautiful sheep, sleeping in a carnage of its dead family, looking peaceful and asleep, fat tears splash down on the picture. The photo is lost in a haze of tears. And that is the only way I will ever view such pictures, through eyes swollen with tears.
Therefore I did not click on the link.
Instead, I created a project of my own. I filmed myself writing this blog entry and wondered what to do with the video of me crying. To cry is a very soul-baring thing to do when you just can’t hold back the pain inside any longer. It was such an emotional video to create and I cry every time I watch it. Then I recorded my own account and played it over the video which I used free stock video from https://videos.pexels.com and some of my own to create a double exposure of fire and farm animals across my own face.
I’d appreciate any feedback. This is the first time I’ve used double exposure in a video. I edited it to create a high key effect, I feel it gives it an ethereal beauty, pure and innocent against the fire and death.
I’ve seen that photo of the sheep multiple times while flicking through the course book. The first time I didn’t know what it was about and looked closer trying to see what was in the picture before recoiling as I saw both the dead sheep and the caption. Time and time again while flicking through the course I would see it and recoil. After not having seen it for several months and I approached that dreaded page I looked at the sheep and I’d seen it so many times it felt like a friend. I can’t describe the emotion it gives me when I see such an image. I wanted to create a project to show the trauma of such images so I recorded myself writing this post.
The foot and mouth disease is especially prevalent in my own memory as only a few months after we moved to Scotland the endemic began. I am so grateful that I was a child at the time so I have no strong recollection of it. All I remember is seeing occasional hazes of smoke staining the sky. Disinfecting our shoes on a countryside walk in the buckets left by every cattle grid and close fence. I was only eight, I knew vaguely of what was going on but the true horror was not known until I was much older. My strongest memory is of driving in the car playing in the back with my sister and noticing an old country track to a farm a heap of objects with smoke rising. It was only enough to trigger some curiosity but Mum’s strangled cries of, “Don’t look!” was enough to instil a sense of fear of what the objects were. “Why? Why what is it?” A typical child, I turned around wondering what it was but we were out of sight with Mum’s voice of “Girls don’t look, please don’t look,” echoing in my ears. Whilst some memories fade, this was one that will be in my mind forever.
I only need to ask my parents about that time and I see a white sheet of horror pass across their faces. My family lived through that horrific time but it is they who remember it and I can see how it’s haunted them.