The collection of images that became Open Season came about as a reaction to the dark that was around me.
I had just finished binge watching the Netflix movie 13 Reasons Why about a high school student named Hannah who records a set of audio tapes telling the thirteen reasons why she committed suicide.
Then a few days later, Soundgarden and Audioslave vocalist Chris Cornell died by suicide.
As one of my favorite singers and songwriters, Chris Cornell’s unexpected death was just piling on to the emotions that 13 Reasons Why brought up.
While there was no real information on what happened with Chris Cornell (As of this writing, the family is waiting on a toxicology report to determine if the use of a prescription drug he was on impaired his judgement), everything was quite clear in the show 13 Reasons Why so that became my focus as I began directing my energy into something creative.
Like so many others, I was deeply moved by the show, but mostly because I’ve battled suicidal thoughts myself.
One thing I learned from my first go round (of two) with suicide though, was that emotions can be the most influential liar you’ll ever lend an ear to.
It was also something 13 Reasons Why captured exceptionally well. As you watched Hannah’s light slowly become snuffed out, it’s also very apparent as a viewer that she had multiple chances to turn things around.
Easier said than done when in the throws of depression, but that’s my point. Those feelings of worthlessness, that everyone you care about would somehow be better off without you is a lie.
Somehow, as a teenager, I figured that out and began applying logic to the situations where I felt my emotions were failing me.
Yes, there was a certain logic that factored in to funneling all my angry energy into creative outlets. By the age of 17, my intent was that music and poetry would help forge my journey from the dark into the light.
Over the years, the artistic means have grown and evolved, but the intent is still there.
It’s about braving the dark to enter the light.
While sifting through all of the things that 13 Reasons Why brought up for me, I began processing some of the photos I had taken at Descanso Gardens using the apps on my phone and the original pass on them showed some of the dark nature I was feeling such as the image below which I posted on Instagram.
But I kept at it and eventually I found the tone that felt right and it looks like this.
I know everyone will have their opinions over which version of the image looks better and I’m fine with it. For me though, it was the bottom image that spoke the truth of my emotions.
In there is another lesson well learned.
While emotions can lie with extremely effective results, like all the best lies, there’s always a kernal of truth in them.
The trick is finding that truth and figuring out how to turn it in to something positive.