'Emotions are a process, a particular kind of automatic appraisal influenced by our evolutionary and personal past, in which we sense that something important to our welfare is occurring, and a set of psychological changes and emotional behaviours begins to deal with the situation.’ - Paul Ekman, PhD
Complex dynamics of emotion are held within the concept of ‘saving face’. Systems of behaviour modification enable ‘face’ to not be lost, and for the reputation, dignity and honour of a person or collective to be retained. In conservative cultures, individuals typically act with restraint to protect their self-esteem and perception by peers. Still, medical science tells us that unexpressed emotions can lead to mental health problems. In Bangkok's most recent COVID-19 lockdown, it reminded me that despite the trials we were all enduring, publicly expressing emotion due to society's boundaries was impossible. I am comfortable, however, expressing my feelings through my art, and this is one outlet that I am privileged to have.
Saving Face is an experimental photographic abstraction series that explores the idea of self-reflection. Utilising analogue and digital photography, digital printing, multiple exposures, and film-soup techniques to create unpredictable results which resemble watercolour paintings.
I hope Saving Face will help those who fear publicly expressing feelings to consider the depth of emotions within us and reflect on the forms of expression they have for their benefit and others in society.