Our Past Does Not Define Us. is a series of portraits of individuals who have been subject to any type of domestic violence, emotional, psychological, verbal, and physical abuse.
The photographs consist of the individual holding an image where the "root" of where the initial trauma took place within their lives while being photographed in their promising future. Along side their image is a hand written note expressing how they feel their experiences have affected them today.
For those that have been subject to such trauma within their lives, many feel alone, broken and abandoned. Most of the time we are not able to openly speak about such experiences as society makes it too taboo to discuss such things while making us feel inferior and damaged. This project was initiated for those who have been subject to such experiences in realizing that we are not alone.
Many of us, myself included have yet to accept the harsh realities, let alone openly discuss the past with those around us. This project was created for those to realize that though our pasts were far from perfect, that our past does not define us. Though we have suffered through the unimaginable, and the unbearable, our past makes us stronger and we are not to be ashamed. We have not fallen to society's expectations of being victims, but instead have grown to be fighters who fight for what we deserve-- a happy and fulfilling life.
For myself, I had yet to accept what I had experienced in my life, and never traveled back to where the root of where my problems began. For this project, I finally made it back to my home where I witnessed my father beating my mother on numerous occasions. The iron gate archway that housed the country club homes was a painful reminder of my past that I tried to erase from my memories for the past 20+ years. Growing up I had suffered through eating disorders, neglect, depression, and fell into my own cycle of being domestically abused. I felt that the life I was enduring was the one I would have to accept; A life of suffering and pain.
I was finally able to accept and conquer my demons with the help of this project. Though this project started out as a voice for the abused, it has transformed itself into a therapeutic process for many and for myself.
As I write about this project now, I also openly invite those who would like to be apart of this process and share their story. I welcome anyone with open arms and a heart free of judgment. Anyone who would like to be apart of this process is welcome to contact me. And for those who may not be ready to share their story, know that you are not alone and you will get through whatever obstacles you are facing.
Note: The location of the image was photographed, hand printed, mounted, then rephotographed with the individual. Both prints are fiber based prints and 11x14 inches in size. The image and the hand written note are both window matted on a 22x24 inch board. The images on the page were photographed and have been uploaded through the use of a digital camera.
© Vicky Moon