- When the face becomes submerged in water the body’s initial reaction is to trigger the mammalian diving reflex: bradycardia significantly slows the heart rate, peripheral vasoconstriction restricts the blood flow to the extremities and blood shift alters the blood flow to the thoracic cavity to avoid lung collapse. Apnea is the body’s first reaction to oxygen depravation, causing the temporary cessation of breath. Panic sets in. Water inhalation occurs causing laryngospasm, whereby the larynx constricts, sealing the air tube to prevent water from entering the lungs. Water will mostly enter the stomach. Some water will enter the lungs. Hypoxia then develops causing fatigue, nausea and a feeling of euphoria, leading to an unconscious state. Continued lack of oxygen in the blood in addition to cardiac arrest deteriorates the brain cells causing brain damage and eventually brain death. In most cases, this all happens within four to ten minutes.
- For the series ‘Drowned’ I photographed locations of drowning incidents, placing these beautiful natural places into a tragic context to examine man’s relationship with the sea in a way that draws out the conflicting relationship between the horrific and the romantic.
The relationship between time and process are central to the project as the length of exposure on the film directly relates to the time of exposure of the body to water when drowning. These timed exposures allow for brief moments of contemplation by creating an ethereal quality in the images that hint toward the euphoric feelings brought about by this ultimately fatal experience, creating tension by representing these powerful and dangerous seas as still, dream-like surfaces.