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To insure their value, I have made "Head First" a limited run series. Only 5 prints will be produced of each image: uniquely signed, numbered, shipped with statement.

Head First : Artist Statement

As an only daughter, heavily medicated since the age of six, I saw, experienced, but never felt much of anything. The cold comfort of New Jersey offered little condolence in the place of siblings I never had. Itinerary consumed my being: taking up to seven different uppers and downers each morning upon waking for the various conditions I was told I possessed. My nature, as I knew it to be for most of my life, was completely devoid of all meaning.
A meek reflection of my former self, I was cast into the world deprived of the very things that made me a person. Mechanisms that some would describe as elation and joy, were absent, almost always followed with an uncomfortable tingling sensation. In conjunction with this, I had been written off as the resident ‘problem’ child; disconnected from those who surrounded me. My biggest confidants, as it seemed, were the same therapists and psychiatrists that wanted no more than to maintain a client for the years to come in accordance with their own personal incomes.
I was a burden to my elders, the quintessential ‘weird kid’ of school, and relied on technology, namely the internet, for much of my social interaction. Offering a form of escape, video games became a coping medium, a way for me to create an alternate universe for myself, in hopes to avoid the physical realities that I could not bear with. It was at this point that I fell into oblivion, and became enamored with color. The radiant hues which presented themselves to me in game communicated that there was optimism for my real life situation. This saturation grew more apparent each time I logged off my computer - seen by all but often unappreciated by the anthropological eye.
Taking control, photography served as a vessel of expression. In recollection of my past, a memorial to the asylums, doctor’s offices, psychiatric wards and therapy sessions that unintentionally littered my upbringing, Head First is my color project. This reference is deliberate; not only as a way to make my account of this experience visual and visceral, but to celebrate the clarity of my newfound freedom of thought. Absent of medication for the first time in fifteen years, I have begun to feel and understand what it truly means to be alive.
Though these mental institutions had been abandoned for decades, something strange happened when I photographed them for my series. I found warmth, security, in the deserted and harrowing hallways. Amongst the decay there was a familiarity present, and as it grew dark I felt little opposition to leave. By choosing long exposures, exaggerated colors were created, reflecting the interior life of my soul, existent then and now echoed in my pictures.
Despite times of absolute bleakness there was a light at the end of the tunnel; a constant reminder of destiny. I found beauty amongst the chaos and confusion of growing up alone; color seen at the end of a forbidding maze of an institutional portal, just as it had beckoned to me. Commotion, a constant premature focus of what was in my head, and not my heart; this is head first.

Ali Baker
2012



I will give discounts to those who buy 3 or more prints. Shoot me a message on twitter (@alibakes) or contact me via the left sidebar.