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My love was lost : a project on bereavement and healing art

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My love was lost : a project on bereavement and healing art
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Boes, Emerald
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Denver, Colo.
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Metropolitan State University of Denver
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English

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My Love was Lost: A Project on Bereavement and Healing Art
by Emerald Boes
An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the Metropolitan State University of Denver Honors Program
May 2016
Natascha Seideneck
Leila Armstrong Dr. Megan Hughes-Zarzo
Honors Program Director
Primary Advisor
Second Reader


My Love Was Lost:
Exploring the Connections between Photography and Bereavement
Emerald Boes
Undergraduate Thesis Paper
05/06/16


Introduction
Visual art therapy is an affective method of therapy for bereavement that is more beneficial than verbal therapy or medicinal therapy. Using visual art in therapy is highly individualized, succeeds in communicating emotions when verbalization fails, and does not cause dangerous side effects or addictions like medicinal therapy. Visual art, especially photography, is a more affective alternative to verbal therapy because many people do not have the vocabulary to discuss or understand the complex emotions of death and loss. Unlike verbal therapy, visual art therapy can be individualized to meet the specific needs and goals of each patient, because creative platforms have less boundaries and limitations than language. Medicinal therapy, although helpful in specific cases, can lead to side effects, overdose, and in many cases are extremely addictive.
With the benefits of visual art therapy in mind, I began a photography project titled My Love Was Lost that focuses on using creativity and community to discuss the grieving process after the loss of a loved one. This project is personal to me; after the death of my best friend Marquelle in a car accident in 2013,1 turned to visual art, especially photography, as a therapeutic tool to try to understand the emotions I was feeling. I began My Love Was Lost in the Spring of 2015 to explore the unique qualities of the grieving process with participants in Colorado. The project is collaborative and meant to enable a community to openly discuss individual experiences of grief and loss.
It was important that the subjects had someone to talk to that had experience in both photography and bereavement. This built trust and created a more comfortable environment for the bereaved. My Love Was Lost includes interviews, discussion, and
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photographs of the participants. The photographs are all portraits, but differ from image to image because of the effects of collaboration and the individual experience. The discussion and interviews are openly structured, but focus on memories of the lost loved one, the participants grieving process, and what the experience of grief and death has taught them.
The goal of this project is to create a safe-space for the bereaved to discuss their grief and loss. Through the use of a creative platform, My Love Was Lost encourages positive healing, discussion, and recovery from bereavement. Through collaboration, this project creates a comfortable environment for sharing the emotions and feelings of loss that may be difficult to open up about. Sharing the individual experiences of grief builds a community that can be beneficial to the bereaved because if enforces that they are not alone in this process.
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Field Research & Case Studies
Death is a part of the cycle of life that will inevitably affect our own lives as well as the lives of the ones we love. Since we all experience death, we will likely all experience grief at some time during our life. Grief has been defined as the emotional response to loss. The grieving person is affected in every aspect of life by the sorrow of their loss.1 Grief has been studied extensively and comes in many different forms. Not only do we grieve a death, but we can also grieve the loss of a job, home, relationship or ones health.
Bereavement is a special type of grief that comes specifically from experiencing the death of a loved one. When we lose someone that is an important part of our life, we become disassociated and cannot find the right way to react.2 Loss of a loved one not only represents the experience of death, but also our relationship with ourselves because it completely changes our status in life. It can make a child into an orphan, a wife into a widow, or a friend into a survivor.3
The loss of a significant loved one can produce many negative psychological responses including anxiety, loneliness, depression, confusion, helplessness, fear, and anger.4 Death is an alien intruder and enemy, affecting the bereaved person with an unending cycle of grief. In modern society, there is a stigma with bereaved people; certain ways to grieve are acceptable, but other ways are not.5 We teach people they must grieve and recover quickly. Stigmas say that if we continue to grieve for too long, we
1 Otto Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement: A Guide for Counseling. (New York: Praeger, 1985),
45.
2 Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. (London: Verso, 2004), 22.
3 Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 47.
4 Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 47.
5 Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 48.
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might as well be living death, and the acceptance of grief was the only way to heal and find peace.6
To effectively aid the healing process of loss, we must understand the complexity of bereavement and mourning. There are infinite methods for mourning because each individual experience with loss is different. But, we shouldnt have to deal with this difficult process of life alone. Therapy is essential to healing because you can work with another person, usually a trained professional. Trauma of this magnitude can lead to both psychological and physiological issues, especially if left untreated.
Throughout this paper, I will discuss the idea of a grief story. This story is a unique aspect of each persons grieving process. The grief story includes an introduction of the deceased person, a discussion on the events of their loved ones death and their age and relationship to the bereaved participant. This story also includes specific aspects of the bereaved participants grief. This can include how they mourned, what they have learned from experiencing loss, what they feel or did feel during any time of their grieving process, and their current emotional state in relation to their grief. The idea of the grief story is important to this project because it communicates the individuality of grief and explains the structuring of each photograph.
The first step to the journey of understanding and healing from loss is to accept the process of mourning. Being able to grieve a death does not mean you have to forget or replace this person. Instead, grieving helps to accept that the loss makes you undergo something that will change you forever; Perhaps mourning has to do with agreeing to
6 Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 48.
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undergo a transformation.7 We should not fear the process of grief. Trying to ignore or escape our grief will only hinder the healing process.8
There are many methods surrounding the discussion and treatment of grief. Some popular methods include the Kubler-Ross Model of therapy, use of the pharmaceutical industry, and verbal art therapy including discussion with a therapist and written activities such as journaling. These types of treatment are often debated because grief has unique qualities and symptoms for each individual. Grief and recovery are not quantifiable; we cannot understand it through specific measurements or research. We can only observe the effects of different therapies and decide which type of therapy works best for that persons individual experience.
One of the most widely accepted models for the treatment of grief is the Kubler-Ross Model of the Five Stages of Loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross designed this model in her book On Death and Dying in 1969. Kubler-Ross lists five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The denial phase is the initial stage defined as a period where the dying or the bereaved cannot accept the truth and deny the possibility of death. The second phase, anger, is categorized by searching for blame and releasing angry emotions. Bargaining is the stage where one tries to postpone the pain, and can be done privately or publicly. For example, Oh please, God, I promise to never complain again if you just give me one more chance... The fourth stage in the Kubler-Ross model is depression. This is the stage where the denial ends and the pain and sadness come into play. Lastly, the fifth phase is acceptance. This does not mean the sadness is gone, but just that we can finally reintegrate back into normal life and put energy into other things
7 Butler, Precarious Life, 21.
8 Butler, Precarious Life, 29-30.
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besides our grief. The Kubler-Ross stages are said to be true for both the dying and the bereaved person, but are in no way linear. However, the book explains, both the dying and bereaved tend to always move toward acceptance.9
This theory is controversial, and psychologists such as George Bonanno have examined the flaws of the Kubler-Ross Model. Since each individual experiences grief differently, it makes it pointless to try and organize it into specific stages. There are some people that go through all five stages, but there are others indefinitely active in only one. For some, grief never ends and they never reach the acceptance phase. Bonanno, who is a professor of clinical psychology, explains how some people refuse to succumb to their grief, and therefor do not experience any of the stages.10
Another method of treating grief is through medication. Even though this holds a stigma as being a crutch, the pharmaceutical industry is still a booming business in our society. The pharmaceutical industry is worth $300 billion a year, and is only expected to continue growing. Grieving participants are often prescribed medications for treatment of the illnesses of depression and anxiety that arise after a loss. Doctor Richard Dew, a physician who wrote an article about using medication for grief, explains how, while most people who are grieving do not need any medication, it can be necessary for some people to survive their pain and grief. When appropriately prescribed and used by patients, anti-anxiety or depression medication can help treat these illnesses in bereaved patients. However, Dew advises that caution must be exercised in deciding when to use
9
Kubler-Ross, On Death and Dying,
10 Bonanno, The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss, 21-41.
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drugs. Popular medications for grief include Xanax and Valium, which are anti-anxiety pills, and Prozac and Zoloft, which are anti-depressants.11
Doctors in our country are infamous for overprescribing and mixing multiple medications. This can lead to detrimental effects, such as overdose, addiction and death. In the United States, over 100,000 people die from pharmaceutical drugs annually. This is more than the annual death rate of illegal drugs and traffic accidents. These deaths stem from overdoses caused by addiction, and overprescribing or mixing medications by doctors. The annual profit of Prozac in 2000 was over a billion dollars, and reached over 40 million users. In 2010, doctors wrote nearly 50 million prescriptions for Xanax and its generic equivalent.12 The pharmaceutical industry is thriving off of the unhealthy medicines that are being prescribed. Xanax and Valium are only healthy for short-term use but are potentially addictive and may even make depression worse. Antidepressants arent usually as addictive, but can cause side effects like aggravating heart or prostate conditions.13 As Dr. Joseph Mercola explained: Death by medicine is a twenty-first century epidemic, and Americas war on drugs is clearly directed at the wrong enemy. Another common method of therapy is verbal therapy, which is a popular method to help bereaved patients open up about their loss. Julie Loebach Wetherell, a clinical psychologist, presents research using verbal and written therapy methods. Wetherell describes a type of grief therapy divided into sixteen sessions. In the first three sessions, she familiarizes herself with the patient and builds trust. In sessions four through nine,
11 Richard Dew, When and How to Use Medicine for Grief, last modified Fall 2010,
http://www.taps.org/magazine/article.aspx?id=7096.
12 Matthew Herper, Americas Most Popular Mind Medicines, last modified September 16, 2010,
http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/16/prozac-xanax-valium-business-
healthcare-psychiatric-drugs.html.
13 Dew, When and How to Use Medicine for Grief.
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she has her patients perform a number of exercises. These exercises include both verbal and written activities. For example, in one exercise the client visualizes a story and then records it on a tape recorder. In other exercises, the client fills out forms, questionnaires, and enters into an imaginative conversation, where they pretend they are able to talk to the deceased. In sessions ten through sixteen, Wetherell and her patient meet to review progress and decide if treatment is ready to be concluded.14
Wetherell applied this method on a 52-year-old widow named Ann who lost her husband to cardiac arrest four years previously. During her therapy, Ann completed a grief diary and did situational revisiting, where the client revisits places they used to go to with the deceased. Wetherell did not introduce any visual art therapy into her study. Although Ann felt that these exercises helped reduce her pain and made her feel like she was doing much better, the introduction of visual art into her therapy could have been beneficial to capture the emotions and feelings that Ann wouldnt have been able to verbalize because of lack of vocabulary or lack of understanding of the emotions of loss.15 These benefits of art therapy are discussed in case studies later in this text, explaining how introducing artistic creation into therapy can strengthen the healing process.
Because of the individualized nature of grief, is there an effective way to provide therapy for the bereaved? Although it might be shaped differently for each individual, it is crucial for some type of grief therapy to occur. Traumatic experiences can often make us confused and depressed.16 Leaving the symptoms of grief untreated can lead to
14 Julie Loebach Wetherell, Clinical Research: Complicated Grief Therapy as a New
Treatment Approach, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience (2012): 161-162.
15 Wetherell, Clinical Research 162-164.
16 Cathy A. Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, (New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007), 144.
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vulnerability, functional impairment, cardiac events, high blood pressure, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. The psychology department of the University of Memphis analyzed the effect of therapy on bereaved people and concluded on average, all of the groups displayed positive change at post-treatment and follow-up, so that favorable intervention effects, when these were observed, resulted from greater reductions in distress in intervention recipients than in those who went without formal help.17
The University of Memphis created a meta-analysis on all research about grief therapy that had controlled outcomes. They created a review to analyze all of these sources. There were forty-eight published peer-reviewed articles and another sixteen unpublished dissertations. Analyzing these case studies created a comprehensive discussion on the effectiveness of grief therapy and aimed to evaluate any commonalities between the studies to better understand grief therapy. Some study results showed that treatment can have no or even a negative effect on the bereaved, while others showed encouraging positive effects after providing therapy.
17
Robert A. Neimeyer and Joseph M. Currier. Grief Therapy: Evidence of Efficacy and Emerging Directions, Current Directions in Psychological Science (2009), 352-356.
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0.9
Post- Follow-up
intervention
Universal Grief Therapy
Selective Grief Therapy
Indicated Grief Therapy
General Psychotherapy
As indicated in the graph above, overall effectiveness did not point toward one cohesive picture of grief therapy. However, they did see the positive effect of grief therapy versus the no-intervention control groups. They concluded there was a need to divide the studies and analyze what could have accounted for the different results.18 Overall, the University of Memphis concluded that the results did show grief therapy can be helpful to a range of people contending with a range of losses, ameliorating many forms of distress in the near and long-term aftermath of bereavement.19
Grief therapy is proven to be beneficial, but difficulties lie within the way it is structured for each person. Visual art therapy is a method of therapy that can be individualized according to the needs of each specific patient. Art therapy is an expansive discourse in the fields of psychology and therapy, and it has already yielded positive results and feedback discussed later through case studies by psychologists and art therapists. Humanity has always used art as a way to create change, fuel positive transformation, and encourage healing. For many years The Navajo, for example, have
18 Neimeyer and Currier, Grief Therapy, 352-356.
19 Neimeyer and Currier, Grief Therapy, 355.
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for many years combined song, dance and sand painting to encourage the healing of people with illnesses. Since the Paleolithic Period, the creation of visual imagery has been used in funeral ceremonies to make the event more special and important.20 Art therapy differs from the discipline of verbal therapy because it is experimental and can provide a place where new attitude and feelings can be expressed and tried out.21
Although it is broad and individualized, the discipline of art therapy has devised some standards on how to structure art therapy for grief. These standards help psychologists design art therapy for their patients that fuel the healing process. The first standard psychologists must remember is to trust their intuition. This is unique to the creative aspect of art therapy, because art carries no rules or boundaries. There may not be concrete, logical reasoning for the subject matter in the art created, but the final product is not the most important part. In art therapy, it is often the process that tends to be the most helpful in working with bereavement. The point is not necessarily to create something considered good art, but instead to experiment without any limitations or boundaries that other types of therapy might have.22
Psychologists agree not to interpret the subject matter in the images literally. Like most art, you must try and recognize the symbolism and metaphors to understand the meaning. Often, it might be helpful to let them create the image and then discuss it later. The final product might be something that takes time to process, but writing or talking can be helpful in addition to find the meaning within the artwork created. It is important to remember that significance lies in the healing power of creation, not the final product.
20 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 142.
21 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 36.
22 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 56-59.
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It is also beneficial to structure art therapy to have a goal or intention. The creation of art requires bravery and courage; it is a stepping-stone toward positive change. The intention you set will be what the patient takes away from the process of creation and discussion of their grief.23 For example, if the bereaved is a survivor, the intention may be to create art that shows they are experiencing survivors guilt.
Art therapy first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century in German and American mental institutions. It simultaneously emerged as a tool for the mentally handicapped to communicate with others, as well as for therapeutic purposes. Methods used in art therapy include both analyzing and creating art, such as the Rorschach Method of analyzing ink blots, the Good-Enough Method of interpreting drawings of the human body, and the free creation of art, which helps to gain insight on pathological conditions, tendencies and desires. Where verbal expressions fail, art can be the next best way to interpret and understand.24 Although it was first utilized 200 years ago, art therapy is still an infant in the family of mental health disciplines.25 For the bereaved, creating artwork is a way to fill the void left by loss. Still, it wasnt until 1969 that the American Art Therapy Association (A. A T.A.) was established. This marked a progression in therapy and introduced art as a critical therapeutic tool.26
Margaret Naumburg is a pioneer of art therapy. Naumburg is a psychotherapist who connected the use of art therapy in psychotherapy in the 1940s. She believed you could use art as a way to subconsciously create imagery about ourselves.27 Another
23 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 56-59.
24
Ernest Harms, "The Development of Modem Art Therapy," Leonardo (1975): 241.
25 Judith A. Rubin, Art Therapy Today, Art Education (1980): 6.
26 Rubin, Art Therapy Today, 6-8.
27 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 35.
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pioneer of art therapy is Mary Huntoon, who helped patients with emotional problems and trauma through the creation of art. Huntoon coined the term artsynthesis, which is described as the process of introspection and self-discovery that arose from many of her patients after completing therapeutic art.28
Artsynthesis was Huntoons way of introducing art into therapy for psychiatric patients. Huntoon was an artist, not a trained psychologist. Huntoon worked with the Menninger Clinic and had a profound impact on the discipline of art therapy when she introduced art classes in the clinics therapy sessions. She believed art had powerful effects on trauma, but the value lay in the creation of art instead of interpretation of the product or the diagnosis it could provide.29
Rebekah Near, an expressive arts therapist, conducted a study showing the importance of using visual art therapy for bereaved people. She discusses the practice as an emotional experience, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses. During her sessions, Near sets up warm-ups for her patients to openly create using media such as painting and poetry. Through these warm-ups, she discusses how her patients are able to open up about their fears and reclaim the power of her life. The best way out of grief is to go through grief. The expressive arts offer a porthole into grief by engaging in poiesis-leaming through making.30
Cathy Malchiodi, a psychologist and licensed art therapist, uses art to help her patients deal with grief and loss. Malchiodi believes in the power of visual creation. One of her patients, Ben, was a high school senior dealing with the death of his mother from
28 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 37.
29 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 37.
30
Robert A. Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved, (New York: Routledge, 2012): 201-204.
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cancer. Her illness affected him long before her death and he was experiencing emotions that were difficult to deal with. Malchiodi thought art could be a platform for Ben to express these emotions in a safe manner. Ben started creating paintings showing the struggles he was dealing with. In one painting, Ben showed himself tied to a rope, swinging.
INSERT PAINTING IMAGE
He explained how the act of swinging made him feel free, but at the same time the rope being tied to him made him feel trapped. Ben also created a self-portrait, which he discussed as showing how he felt cheated from missing high school events because of his mothers illness.
Using art to deal with the difficulties of grief also helped a young girl named Sarah. At the time of her therapy, she was 13 years old and was dealing her grandfathers death. Sarah was drawn to painting as a way to deal with her depression. She created a painting of a dream she had where her grandfather appeared surrounded by family members.
INSERT PAINTING IMAGE
In the dream, her grandfather told Sarah that everything was okay. She explained how waking up from the dream, she was overcome with feelings of peace. For both Ben and Sarah, art was used as a way of remaking the self after a loss through exploring, expressing and transforming feelings into visual images.31
Photography is a medium of visual art that allows unique opportunities for the bereaved person to create art while using images of their loved one. Nancy Gershman
31 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 145-148.
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uses a method she calls Dreamscape, which allows the bereaved to use family photos to construct photomontages that preserves memories as well as build new memories of the deceased. Gershmans Dreamscape method utilizes all available images from a clients life to create a film still where the client is no longer stuck. These photomontages become a starting point for beginning the re-identification process in an individual rudderless from loss.32 Typical Dreamscapes are iconic and populated with images of people, objects, and landscapes that discuss the clients grief and hold positive connotations in their life.33
One case example from Gershmans Dreamscape method introduces Hope, a 62-year-old mother who exhibited complicated grief and suicidal tendencies after her son was murdered. After verbal therapy showed no improvements, Hope was encouraged to turn to expressive arts therapy. However, Hope had no reaction to painting, saying:
Using brush and paint, I couldnt deal with it.. .1 was completely numb. I wanted to do nothin, know nothin.34 Then Gershman introduced the Dreamscape method, and Hope agreed to try it.
32 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 205.
33 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 205.
34 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 206.
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Throughout the process of creating photomontages, Hope expresses emotions of anger for the murderers, and delight when using positive photographs of family.35
Photography is an important media for art therapy because the emotional brain needs the language of sensory images, metaphors and symbols.36 Photographs deal with both our sensations and our perceptions. Sensations include the physical senses such as sight, sound and touch. Perceptions refer to the more psychological operations of the brain and how it organizes stimulations. Combining sensations and perceptions creates a powerful experience when viewing photographs that is specific to this media.37
Using positive images from their family to fuel playful, artistic creation encourages laughter, which stimulates the brain and releases dopamine into their system. This process of positive chemical release encourages recovery. Using personal family photographs allows the patient to reminisce on positive memories both during the
35 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 205.
36 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 205-210.
37 Suler, John. "Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche."
http://users.rider.edu/~suler/photopsy/toc_sensation.htm.
17


creative process and while reviewing the finished product. These photomontages allow the bereaved to use the strong bond with their loved one to work through their grief.38
Scientific evidence from the brains reaction with photography is furthered by powerful personal experiences with photography. Roland Barthes explains his personal relationship with photography and grief in his book Camera Lucida. For Barthes, examining photography was a way for him to deal with the distress of a recent bereavement. After losing his mother, he searched through photographs of her to try and compile a narrative for his own memory and grieving process.39 He was focused on photographys ability to be sentimental; to explore it not as a question, but as a wound: I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think.40 After finally finding a photograph that Barthes thought represented the truth of his mother, he felt he had rediscovered her. This photograph helped his grief because it gave him a sentiment as certain as remembrance.41
According to Barthes, the power of the photograph lies in its ability to capture an essence of a person; a truth of identity. The photograph has an ability to capture the impossible science of the unique being.42 Photographs do not just draw on the past or try and restore what has been lost. They validate the existence of the memories, the qualities, and the truth of the deceased. It is important that the photograph symbolizes more than just an image of the deceased; that it goes deeper than just surface representation.43 Barthes explains that what we lose with death is much more than these surface qualities.
38 Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy, 205-210.
39 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), 63.
40 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 32.
44 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 70.
42 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 71.
43 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 82.
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This loss is not a figure, but a being; and not a being, but a quality (a soul): not the indispensable, but the irreplaceable.44 The unique capabilities of photography are what make it such a powerful tool to discuss grief. Photography is a media that can be used to shape visual art therapy, and it is a central aspect in the process of My Love Was Lost.
The Project
The process of My Love Was Lost starts with a brainstorming session between the bereaving participant and myself. We discuss important locations that represent the life of the deceased and discuss objects that have an important relationship with the lost loved one. Then, they choose one or two locations and a few objects from this discussion that function as a personal memorial for their loved one. The location becomes the site of the photograph, and the objects are props included in each portrait.
Locations are significant to the bereaving person because they function as a portal into an important memory. They can bring back stories that may have been tucked in the back of the brain, and they help the bereaved feel a connection with the individual that has passed away. Maybe it is a bowling alley where they both used to play, or the location of their gravesite. These locations are an important part to include in each photograph from this series, as a way to give the viewer some insight into the relationship of the bereaved and the deceased.
44 Barthes, Camera Lucida, 75.
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As explained in the book The Poetics of Space, the different locations we visit during our life hold our most treasured memories from the past. These places become a way for us to find comfort as well as function as a space to metaphorically and literally close our memories into.45 The home is particularly powerful as integration for the thoughts, memories and dream of mankind.46 The specific locations are important for our memories and for this project because they are suspended in a certain time. This means the more securely we link our memories with certain locations, the more secure their existence is in our reality. Bachelard explains our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe; a real cosmos in every sense of the word.47
The specific objects are also important aspects of the photographs in My Love Was Lost. In some photos, the objects are other photographs. However, they could also be things like clothing, books, or jewelry. These objects can sometimes be all we physically have left of the person we lost, and it again strengthens the connection between the bereaved and the ones they have lost. They are important memorabilia that we save after our loved ones death to remember them, like the way their shirt smells, or their silly smile in a snapshot.
Objects hold significant value in the representation of the body and life of the deceased. After someone has died, it is common to keep many things to reconnect with him or her. In our society there are moral obligations to keep the material possessions, especially clothing, within the family and friends of the person that has died. However, it
45 Gaston Bachelard et al., The Poetics of Space, (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), 4-10.
46 Bachelard, et al., The Poetics of Space, 6.
47 Bachelard, et al., The Poetics of Space, 4-10.
20


can also be important to let go of unnecessary, unusable items that are not connected with memories of that person. But, the items that hold value are important as property, metaphors and symbols of love and identity, and the function and power of objects to bind and unbind family relationships.48 Specific objects, tangible or not, are powerful enough to change and aid the grieving process.49
In the photographs of My Love Was Lost, specific objects are valued for their ability to have things, both tangible and intangible as triggers.50 Jean-Paul Sartre discusses the relationship between people and personal possessions as a fundamental step for humans to feel complete. When we do not keep some of the possessions that function as a connection with the deceased, we feel like we are lacking something. From the time we are bom until the time we die, we gain possessions constantly. It is a way our society understands itself and its relationship with the world. Material possessions are a universal symbol of life.51 Many bereaved people have experiences with keeping material possessions from their loved ones because of their value to symbolize their life.
Elizabeth lost her father, a sea captain, when she was only twenty-seven years old. She kept some of his objects as a way to memorialize his life. She placed value on some items more than others because of the level of their connection with precious memories or their relationship. She explains:
But what I really value is a button off [his captains] uniform ...Ive got one of those buttons; Ijust go all goose pimply... because I always remember them just being around the house and they were also a part of Dad... Oh, and I have a
48 Margaret Gibson, Objects of the Dead: Mourning and Memory in Everyday Life (Carlton, Vic.:
Melbourne University Press, 2008), 3.
49 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 42.
50 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 5.
51 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 20-34.
21


pocket-knife... those were two things out of a life offifty-six years and thats whats really important to me. They re symbols; they re tangibles; and I can hold that and say, You were here and this is not just a figment of my imagination.52 One of the most important objects the bereaved place value upon are photographs, especially containing the deceased. Photographs are a look into the actual life of a person; a form of visual biography.53 They are the brains connection to a memory, whether the specific photo captures that memory or not. It can trigger something outside the frame.54 Photos are especially important for the bereaved as they link the past with the present. They serve as a moment frozen in time, forever showing the mortal body of the person that now lives only in the past.55
This idea of mortality and photography comes from writings by Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag. They discuss how photographs are melancholy objects, meaning they are representative of the unrepeatability of a moment or a presence. Photographs are a memento mori as well as a way to understand the mortality of a life that will one day be taken from the reality that existed in the photograph. While they may represent many people still alive, they can also represent the absence of a person. Photography is a medium made for mourning, which is why it is an important aspect of the photographs in My Love Was Lost.56
In a book titled The Blackwater Nightship, Helen, a 10-year-old daughter returns to her fathers closet after hearing of his death. She felt solace and value in his clothing
52 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 25.
53 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 79.
54 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 81.
55 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 80.
56 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 85-101.
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and how they showed his absence. She even chooses an outfit, creates an automation of his body, and cuddles with it for comfort.57 Objects, tangible or not, represent a memorial for the deceased and the idea of a strangeness of realizing that things have outlived persons.58 When the bereaved are seeing, smelling, touching or talking about clothing that belonged to the loved ones they lost, they are reliving the stories these objects hold.59
The next part in the process of My Love Was Lost is photographing the participants. To capture the mood of their grief story, I wanted to keep the pose and positioning natural. This meant instead of giving a lot of direction to the participants, I let them move naturally around the location and interact naturally with the objects. This creates a more relatable emotion and lets the bereaved participate in the creation of the photo. After letting the participant get comfortable in their environment, I take about 50-100 digital photographs.
After shooting and reviewing the photographs to make sure we both liked them, I would then set my camera to video and we would talk for about five to ten minutes.
These conversations were loosely structured interviews where I asked them questions about their grieving process. I would ask questions like what have you learned from the experience of grieving? and how have you grieved since the loss? By keeping it loosely structured, I could allow any unique aspects of their grief to come to light. This interview was helpful for me to communicate the participants grief stories. I use these videos to analyze the photographs we created and pull quotes from the interview to create the titles of each photograph. I want to use the titles as a way to create a condensed
57 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 108.
58 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 1.
59 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 41.
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version of each persons grief story. For example, a participant who lost their husband might have a title that reads, I just miss waking up next to him.
After the shoot, I would spend the next week or so sorting the photographs and picking out a few that I felt were technically the strongest but also conveyed the grief story of that participant. In some cases, I would send a few photos to the participant and ask which ones they thought best portrayed their grief story as well. This would factor into my decision of what photographs to choose for this project because I wanted it to be collaborative and result in photographs the bereaved participants had a strong connection with.
After we chose the one or two photographs that were going to be part of the project, I would edit the technical aspects of the photograph. For example, I would adjust the color balance or brightness if needed. However, I wanted to keep the photographs realistic and not add on any drastic effects. This was an important decision for the project because the minimal editing makes them more recognizable and relatable to the participants and other viewers of this project.
When I sent the participants the final photographs, I also sent them a post-process interview. The questions of the interview are as follows:
1. How did you feel about talking about your grief and your loss while creating photographs meant to symbolize the importance of that person?
2. What are your thoughts on the connection between art and the grieving process?
3. After seeing the final photograph(s), how do you feel that this project affected your grieving process?
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4. Did you feel like the creative process was a good way for talking about your individual experience with grief?
5. What do you feel is the importance of using photography to share your grief story?
6. Any other questions, comments or concerns?
These questions were meant to further the understanding of grief and how the bereaved were affected after participating in this project. I wanted to keep the questions broad to inspire the possibility of unique answers. The post-process interview was another opportunity for the bereaved participant to reflect on the project and offer any advice for the future of this project. I also used the interview as a way to further analyze the effect this project had on the participant.
The photographs of My Love Was Lost have some similarities throughout the project. The series is meant to be more natural and candid so I could try to capture true emotions while they were discussing their grief story with me. Throughout the series, I use different photographic techniques with lighting, subject matter, editing and other compositional techniques to capture the idea of grief in visual forms. The bereaved participants and I discuss all of these things and collaborate on how to compose the photographs. We also collaborate on how to present the location and objects that are featured alongside them in the photographs.
After shooting the images, the bereaved and I continue to collaborate about which photos we feel best expresses their grief story. Sometimes, this means we choose diptychs. Some of the photographs were combined into diptychs because it better featured the location in one photo and the object in the other. Others are diptychs because
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they discuss two different grief stories or felt they needed multiple photos to express the entirety of their grief story. Most importantly the goal was to let the individual grief experience create an individual grief photograph or photographs.
The Photographs
Sheena
Sheena is the first participant in My Love Was Lost. Her best friend Alex committed suicide five years ago and since then her grief story has transformed her life and the way she looks at day-to-day interactions. Sheena explains their eight-year friendship, and how they constantly influenced and inspired each other. But her favorite part of their friendship was how they were constantly dying of laughter. The biggest thing he taught me was to take every sad moment with a grain of salt and make sure youre laughing at all times, she tells me.60 For so long, she blamed herself for his suicide, but now she explains theres nothing I could have done and it has taken me this long to truly understand and believe that.61 She explains how now, after years of grieving, she realizes if her stomach isnt hurting from laughing everyday, then what is
60 Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
61 Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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the point of living? His suicide was an awakening for her, and she tells me how it has affected her outlook on life. It taught me a lot about your interactions with people.. .because they could be having the worst day of their life, and I always think maybe if someone had just told [Alex] one thing, it could have given him a minute
longer...62
Almost half of the participants in My Love Was Lost suffer from loss by suicide. The psychological effects on the survivors of suicide are different than any other type of grief. Their emotions are intensified and aggravated. Alongside normal grief emotions like anger or sadness, survivors of suicide might also feel guilt, shame and hopelessness because they couldnt prevent their loved ones death. The survivor is often obsessed by the thought that the death might have been prevented, and sees himself in the role of the potential rescuer and intervener who has failed.63 Because of these complex emotions, the bereaved from suicide may need help even more than others.64
62 Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
63 Austin Kutscher et al., For the Bereaved (New York: F. Fell 1971), 124.
54 Kutscher et al., For the Bereaved, 123-124.
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Sheenas first photograph is an intimate portrait of her standing in front of a colorful wall of graffiti. Her eyes are looking down at two bracelets on her wrist. One reads Alex. Next to these bracelets she has a tattoo on her wrist that reads bbycakes with a small red heart next to it. Her finger is stroking her wrist and she has a small smile on her face.
The tattoo is a significant reminder of Alex because it is her memorial tattoo for him. Bbycakes was their nickname for each other and she wanted to get it tattooed on her wrist as a constant reminder of their friendship. The colorful bracelets on her wrist belonged to Alex, and it reminds her of the memories of them beading the bracelets together. She kept them after his death because they are objects that represent more than material items. These are the objects that symbolize their relationship; the sacred objects tell her unique grief story. Pieces of jewelry are especially sacred after death because they were worn by the deceased; necklaces laid close to the heart and bracelets touched the wrists of our loved ones. We decided to choose the photograph where she was looking down on these objects with a small smile to draw importance to the objects and show her reminiscing on past memories they shared.
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The second photograph of Sheena shows her sitting on a windowsill on a wall full of bright, colorful lines of graffiti. The lines are converging toward her, leading the eyes straight to her position on the sill where she is kicking her feet and laughing openly. She is looking off into the distance to something beyond the photograph.
Both of Sheenas photographs are placed in front of large walls of graffiti. Sheena chose this location because it reminded her of Alex. One of their favorite activities to do together was search for graffiti to photograph around Glenwood Springs. They loved all of the colorful art hidden in alleyways and behind buildings. They took pride in being the first ones to find these secret walls of art. We chose this specific graffiti wall because the converging lines lead straight to Sheena, drawing your eyes straight to her laughing face and hinting at the individuality of her grief. The bright colors of the graffiti wall as well as her laughter shows her experience with accepting her grief and moving forward to promote suicide prevention and continue spreading happiness to others in need. It also symbolizes the importance of laughter throughout their friendship. Another aspect included in this photograph is the presence of a window. Shown in a photograph, the window symbolizes another realm; a passage meant to connect the living with the realm of the dead.
After showing Sheena the final photographs, I emailed her the post-process interview questions listed above. Sheena explains how the process of creating photographs to symbolize Alex was important to her because she wanted to express her gratitude that she had the privilege to be great friends with him for a long part of his life. Sheena explains how she thinks art is the only cure for grief, and she enjoyed the laughter and happiness shown in her photographs because the experience made her remember all
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the of the good times they shared. For Sheena, it was important to share her grief story because it is something everyone can relate to because everyone experiences deep loss. Sheena loved the easiness of using photography to share her grief story, because it proves we are not alone in the challenges we face throughout life.65 And, she says, they always took photos together, so it was the best outlet to capture and share her grief story.
Zack
In January of 2012, Zach began his grief story when his first nephew unexpectedly died at only 14 months old. His name was James C. Green, and it happened while Zack was in the middle of his junior year. He explains how tough this was for him, because it was his familys first grandchild and his first experience with loss. James death affected his family a lot, and made Zack want to drop out of high school. He explains to me I almost dropped out of school.. .didnt really give a shit.. .but I talked to the pastor that did his funeral and he was like well, I dont think hed want you to drop out.66 So he stuck with it and graduated a year later. With a smile, Zack tells me stories about watching baby James, and how before him, he wasnt really fond of kids. But watching him grow from a newborn baby to 14 months of age made him really attached to him. Zack continues talking about losing other members of his family, and explains his thoughts on the individuality of loss. Whether its your grandpa, or your best friend, or your nephew, it strikes you differently because of the connection you had with them.67
65 Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
66 Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
67 Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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The first photograph of Zack shows him seated on a couch. There is a large, bright window behind his head. On the far left of the photograph, there is a photo album open, as if he was just looking through it. He is holding up a framed photograph of a baby boy, laughing, covered in chocolate cake. His right arm is extended to reveal a memorial tattoo that reads In loving memory of James C. Green. Underneath are two dates. Zach is looking straight at the camera with glossy eyes.
This photograph in Zacks hand as well as the open album across his lap are important because they are all his family has left of baby James. They have drawers and albums full of photographs of James. These photographs are important to Zacks family and function as connections with the memories they had with James. Photographs are especially important objects used throughout this project because of their ability to imply things outside of the frame.68 As Margaret Gibson explained in her book Objects of the Dead, photographs are sacred because they can simultaneously reveal presence and absence, existence and non-existence.69
68 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 81.
69 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 88.
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Zack is also holding out his arm with his memorial tattoo for James. During the photoshoot, Zack explained how his family all went to get these tattoos as a way to grieve together. This photograph was taken in the couch of their living room, which is where Zack would babysit James and play with him. He explains how James would pull all of the CDs out of the CD rack, but he was too cute to make Zack mad. The window is also a significant element of the photograph, because it spreads life and light into the room and, as mentioned before, symbolizes the connection of different realms.
Zacks second photograph shows him seated in the middle of a lush, green garden in the sunlight. The green plants are surrounding him, closing him into the garden in which he is sitting. He has a relaxed, bent-over stance and is again holding a framed photograph of the same baby boy. In this photograph, he has a hint of a smile but is still staring straight at the camera.
This photograph is taken in the family garden behind Zacks house. This location was chosen because it is an important part of the familys grief story. It represents the community they shared, as they would work together to help the plants grow. These lush, green plants represent the growth of grief as they share the pain of losing a member of
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their family. It also represents the life that remains, and the life of baby James that they will always remember. The plants surround Zack, metaphorically wrapping him in life and keeping him safe. The photograph of baby James was chosen as a sacred object that the family held onto after his death. Zacks pose in this photograph is candid and relaxed, but his gaze straight into the camera is confrontational and speaks to the difficulty he had while sharing his grief story.
Zacks post-process interview explains how he was affected positively by the project. He says he felt like weight was leaving his shoulders after the interview. The photographic process was relieving for Zack and knowing he was talking to someone who understands the pain of losing someone made him feel great. Zack believes there is a strong connection between art and grief because the final product is something to look on that brings back memories when you are going through a bumpy patch in the grieving process.70 It was really powerful for Zack to look at the final photographs and see how the emotions are displayed on his face; it reminded him how strong these emotions are, even six years after his loss. The creative aspect of this project helped Zack become more comfortable talking about his grief. His interview ends with his explanation that he thinks photography is stronger than words, because it can express the power of grief unlike any words ever can.
Andria
Andrias grief story begins three-and-a-half years ago when her close friend Corey hung himself in a closet. Andria explains how Corey suffered from depression and they bonded over this, because she explains: I had already gone through it and kind of
70 Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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worked my way out of that hole.71 They always hung out and talked about the issues he was facing in his life. During the conversations, Andria discussed how she was upset because no one knew he was in this state in his life; he had attempted suicide two weeks prior but did not tell anyone, and his parents made him return to school. Her biggest regret was that he had called her the night before his death and she wasnt able to pick up the phone. I dont even know what he was going to say... she explains, but it could have been to say goodbye.72
Andrias photograph is simple, but powerful. It differs from the other photographs because it is black and white with heavy contrast as opposed to full color. She has a serious look on her face and is staring straight at the camera; her eyes are glazed over.
She is standing in an empty closet with the door ajar. She holds tightly onto a long, dark black rope hanging from the closet.
The location of the closet in Andrias portrait symbolizes the site of death. The black rope she clings onto represents the method of his suicide. The mood of Andrias photograph is different then the other photos because it was important to Andria to represent the seriousness in her grief story. Coreys depression overwhelmed his life until
71 Andria Denolf, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
72 Andria Denolf, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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it completely took over, and it was important to her to discuss the severity of depression. Andria also wanted to depict depression because it was the way they bonded and became friends. Andrias gaze is confrontational and serious as another way to depict the importance of spreading awareness of depression.
Her tight grip on the rope shows a physical connection with the object of death. Andria is standing in the doorway of the closet because of the location, but the doorway is also a portal into another dimension, a way to collapse the realms between the living and the dead. Her photograph is the only one that is black and white, because the extreme contrast of black and white photography led to the serious tone of the photograph.
Andrias post-process interview was a discussion on the importance of suicide awareness. Andria explains how she has come to terms with her loss, but wanted an outlet to express the seriousness of depression. Although she didnt feel this project particularly affected her grieving process, she believes art can have beneficial effects on people that are grieving, even if it isnt the best process for everyone. This process helped her to begin the discussion on the particular aspects of grief from suicide. Andria explains that although it is a start, photography is not enough. We need to continue using other methods to raise awareness of depression and suicide.73
Madi
Madi was a unique participant because she wanted to tell two different stories of grief from two different losses. The first grief story is about the death of her grandma, whom she referred to as MeMaw. During our conversations, Madi mentions how her grandmother killed herself in 2010. They had been extremely close; MeMaws house was
73 Andria Denolf, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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her escape from her stepfather, and Madi was always her grandmothers favorite grandchild. MeMaw was a second mother to her, she explains to me. It killed me.. .ripped a part of me... she was such a big part of my life and the next day she wasnt. Well, what could I have done better or done to not have it happen?74 When talking about her grief, Madi explains how after over five years, she can acknowledge her grief, but she is still not over it. She tells me it is interesting to see the progression of the pain.75 Madi explains to me how reading was an important part of their relationship. She could literally read a book a night, so I learned to love to read because of her, she would always take us to the library and I would always get a big ass stack of books.76
Madis first image shows her standing between the aisles in a public library. The rows of books seem endless, converging in one-point perspective and creating a line of sight leading your eyes straight to Madi. There are books surrounding her, filling two huge shelves and stacked on the floor both in front of her and behind her. Madi is holding
74 Madi Dzikowicz, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
75 Madi Dzikowicz, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
76 Madi Dzikowicz, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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a book, immersed in the text and flipping the comer of a page. The sunlight peeks through the shelves of the bookcase and lands on her cheek and waist.
In this photograph, Madi is sitting between two aisles of books in a library because it is a location that was important to her and her grandmothers relationship. The books surrounding her give a sense of safety by familiar, comforting objects. This also functions as a framing device showing the individuality of her grieving experience. The lines formed by the aisles of books lead your eyes toward Madi and enforce the idea of individuality and the aloneness of grief. The soft light is entering the scene on Madis cheek and waist symbolizes a heavenly light suggesting an otherworldly presence. Madis finger is flipping the page of a book, symbolizing a new chapter of life that comes from time and healing.
Madis second grief story began just a year and nine days after her grandmother died. Her best friend Diana was killed in a car accident when she was only 16 years old. Madi talks about Diana with a smile on her face, as she explains how she was the sass master and very opinionated. This had caused a fight between them the year before her death, but they were able to rekindle their friendship before she passed. Madi doesnt even remember what caused it, but regretted that it happened before her unexpected death. She explains to me how she felt after hearing Diana was brain-dead in a coma. I remember thinking only comas and accidents happen on TV, this doesnt happen in real life, it definitely doesnt happen to me. This isnt real.77
Madi then opens up to me about her grieving process of binge-drinking. She explains how getting black-out drunk helped provide some sort of release from her
77 Madi Dzikowicz, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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grief from both MeMaw and Diana. She used drinking to cry it out and get the emotions out of her system, but the emotions havent gone away. Madi explains how she sometimes feels guilty about the fact that she doesnt cry about either death as much anymore. Her outlook has changed since her losses. Now, she can look at them like This happened. It really, really, really sucks but its going to be okay.78
The second image shows her standing in the middle of a four-way intersection, but there are absolutely no cars. You can see the crosswalks and light posts from three different roads of the intersection. In the back right, you can clearly read the street sign that says Yosemite St with an address below it. There are long, dark shadows coming from Madis body and from a street sign behind the photograph. She is standing and facing the camera head-on, with a serious look in her eyes.
The location of this photograph was the site of death for Diana. We chose this location because we wanted to bring attention to the seriousness of driving, and how often car accidents are fatal. During our photo shoot, we decided to place Madi in the middle of the intersection. This represents the danger of a high traffic intersection.
78 Madi Dzikowicz, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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However, even though it was shot during rush hour, we decided to use a photograph that depicts no cars whatsoever. This represents the feelings of loneliness that comes along with grieving the loss of a close friend. The traffic sign is included in the photograph because the particular intersection of Yosemite has been known to be dangerous, and Madi explains how there have been many accidents there since Dianas death. The serious look on her face and her connection with the camera was used as a way to draw importance to the danger of cars, because we have both have suffered losses from car accidents, as many other people have.
Much like a window or mirror, the long shadows in this photograph serve as representations of a different realm. The shadows of Madis figure and the street post shadow are separated from the original object; they are only representations of the real thing. An example of a sacred object lies on her jacket over her heart. Madi is wearing a pin of Diana created for her memorial. It shows a photograph of Diana with her dates of birth and death. This object is particularly sacred to Madi because it serves both as an object and a photograph in one.
Madi discussed how art and grief are completely intertwined in her story, and it was helpful to her grieving process to be able to work with me on this project. Since we have similar grief stories, it was easy for Madi to connect with me as a photographer and as someone to talk to about the important people she has lost. She explains how art is helpful as an outlet of grief because it provides a freedom of release you dont feel comfortable with in everyday life. After her grandmothers death, Madi used the art of writing to record her feelings of grief because art is both expressive and personal.
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After participating in this project, Madi felt like she had a better understanding of her grief as well as the progress she has made since her losses. An interesting thought Madi shared during her post-process interview was that the camera was an especially helpful tool when discussing grief because it served as a wall; a distraction between the photographer and the participant which helped her feel more comfortable to be honest and open about her grief. She also felt photography was helpful because you didnt have to search for words to describe your grief, you could just show it.
Using photography as the creative medium to share her grief story was also helpful because Madi explains that photographs have multiple meanings, which creates more ways for people to relate to the grief. She explains how photography is also powerful because it captures the fleeting moment; which in turn captures the emotions of that moment. After the project, Madi told me she was still thinking about the project and other ways to discuss grief, so it was a helpful platform to begin thinking about her grief story in a creative way.
Mackenzie
Mackenzies participation in this project was important to me, because we suffer from the same loss, but each with our own unique grief stories. Mackenzie is the older sister of Marquelle, my best friend that inspired this project. Marquelle was killed in a car accident in February of 2013.1 have known her family throughout our friendship, so we all served as a community of support after Marquelles death. We grieved together. Because of this, the structure of our conversation was a little different than my conversations with other participants. Our conversation was more specific about memories, what we miss, and things that still remind us of Marquelle.
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Throughout our conversation, we discussed the importance of music as an art form that can hold memories and remind us of Marquelle. We shared different songs that reminded us of her, and different memories we had with these songs. Mackenzie explains how it was only recently that she was able to listen to Marquelles favorite musician, Ben Howard. When she turned his album on in the car, she cried the whole way home. I talked about how I always hear songs I wish I could show her, and how one time I drove past her grave as soon as our song came on the radio.
Mackenzies first photograph shows her seated in a windowsill in front of a large, bright window. She is clearly located in a bedroom, adorned with jewelry, photos, a bed, and a dresser. In the top left is a photograph of two women. She leans back against the windowsill and peers out of the bright window. The bright light coming in from the window illuminates her face.
The location of this photograph is in their home where Marquelles old bedroom was. It has since been converted into a bedroom for their younger sister, but Mackenzie still comes in the room to remember all of the times they spent together in it. The large window serves again as another realm, but also brings a bright light into the room. Mackenzie is looking out of it, contemplating thoughts and memories of her loss. Above
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the window, there is a cross. The Miller family is religious, and their faith was an important aspect of their grief after Marquelles death. I have had many discussions with the Miller family about how she died so young because God needed another angel. The bright light of the window under the cross is symbolic of the heavens her soul now resides in.
The photograph on the left side of the image shows Marquelle with her younger sister. It was an important element to include in this image because it was taken at the photography business where I met Marquelle, and all three sisters have since worked there. The photograph is a sacred object, and we would always take photographs with each other at work. They hold important memories we all share together.
The second photograph of Mackenzie shows the back of her head and her reflection as she stands facing a mirror. However, her gaze is fixed on an image in the top right comer of the mirror. The photograph shows a smiling young woman and reads Marquelle May Miller, Class of 2012. Mackenzie is looking up at the photograph with
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a smile, seemingly unaware of the photographer. She is wearing a rainbow-striped jacket and the overhead lighting of the mirror brightens the photograph and casts softly over Mackenzies face.
This photograph was taken in the mirror. Like a window, the inclusion of a mirror represents the connection between the two realms of living and dead. The photograph in the top comer furthers this idea, because it shows an image of Marquelle. The two sisters bear an uncanny resemblance; they could easily be mistaken as twins. Showing them side-by-side clearly represents that they are immediate family members. The photograph also represents the sacred object, an object that exceeds material value because it functions simultaneously as an object and a photograph of the deceased. Her eyes are looking straight at the photograph, reminiscing on memories she shared with her sister.
The colorful jacket was one of Marquelles favorite items of clothing. She wore it often, so it was an important object to keep after her death. The bereaved often find it crucial psychologically, physiologically and morally to hold on to objects of clothing.
Not only are articles of clothing an object that tell stories and hold memories about the deceased, but it also retains traces of smell and suggests the size, age and shape of the wearers body.79 This ability to hold sensory connections with the body of the deceased may make clothing valued even higher than photographs for the bereaved.80 The idea that clothes hold traces of the body of the deceased make it representative of the identity that explain how a life was spent.81
79 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 104.
80 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 111.
81 Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 112-125.
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On the wall in the right side of the mirror, reflected on the white jewelry holder are pieces of Marquelles jewelry. After her death, the jewelry was divided between the family and myself. Her pieces of jewelry are treasures that hold symbolic value after her death. The location in this photograph is still in Marquelles bedroom. It is her vanity; the mirror Mackenzie is looking though is the same place Marquelle used to sit and put on her make-up or her jewelry.
In her post-process interview, Mackenzie discusses how collaborating with me was a way to reflect on her own personal grief. With the large community of people who loved and grieved Marquelle, Mackenzie explains how it is difficult to find a balance between helping others and tending to your own heart.82 Mackenzie discovered the connection between art and grief after receiving a painting of a dancer after Marquelles death. Marquelle was a dancer as well, so the painting is comforting to Mackenzie because it represents the free-spiritedness of her sister. She also mentions the power of music, and says There are so many songs that I can only listen to with preparation because the feel of her presence is so strong when I play them.83
To Mackenzie, viewing the photographs was both settling and centering, Mackenzie explains how three years after her loss, it is nice to see photographs representing the presence of grief while still being bright and hopeful. She explains this beautifully, saying like the moment the sun comes up after you have been crying all night and the beauty of that moment shocks you out of your lamenting just long enough to wipe your face and feel a deep sense of hope in the beauty of a sunrise.84 Mackenzie
82 Mackenzie Miller, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
83 Mackenzie Miller, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
84 Mackenzie Miller, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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also explains how using the location of Marquelles bedroom was also powerful for Mackenzie because it documented the place that holds their memories.
The creative process was helpful for Mackenzie because it allowed her to look at her grief through a different perspective. She explains how time heals all wounds, but sometimes it is hard to see until you have physical documentation you can look at and visually see it happening. Using photography to capture this moment of grief enables her to look back and comprehend the timeline of her grief story. The photograph stores her emotions at this phase of her grief and gives her an appreciation for how far she has come in her journey of loss. Mackenzie ends the interview by telling me how thankful she is that we could step into the grief story and affirm it by creating a beautiful expression of life.85
85 Mackenzie Miller, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.
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Results
My Love Was Lost was an exploration of the relationship between visual art and grief. I started this project because visual art was extremely beneficial to my own grieving process, and I wanted to share this therapeutic tool with others. Overall, the results were even better than I had expected. All of the participants in this project, in one way or another, agreed art held an importance place in healing and bereavement. The open-ended conversation about the participants grief story functioned as a safe space to allow the participants to open up about things that were not easy to talk about. The photographs became physical products of their grief that documented memories with the deceased. They served as a tool the participants could look back at and reflect upon.
Sheena reflected on the photographs and said they helped her remember memories with her lost loved one, and they were important because they could be relatable to anyone with deep loss. Zach thought the creative process was helpful to make him more comfortable to talk about his grief and the final photographs documented the
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true emotions he was feeling. Madi found it beneficial to be able to talk to someone who has also experienced grief, and she believes photography was useful because it allowed her to represent emotions that cant always be expressed verbally. The photographs were helpful to Mackenzies grieving process because they documented the progress she has made since her loss.
Andrias experience with My Love Was Lost was interesting because she felt that it did not affect her grieving process. Rather, Andria thought the process was beneficial to spread awareness of depression and suicide. Being able to discuss her own grief story was a way for Andria to help other people relate to grief that comes from loss by suicide. However, Andria felt like this project was not enough, and photography was not the only tool that should be utilized to spread awareness and prevention of suicide.
To better discuss the individuality of grief and serve as a therapeutic tool, this project could be expanded. My Love Was Lost was limited to participants from Colorado, but bereavement is a global issue. This project can be expanded throughout the world, and could be adapted for other photographers and participants to contribute. The participants were all in the same age group as well, from ages 20-30 years old. It would be beneficial to open up this project for people of all ages, especially children. However, the ages were not similar when it came to the loved ones that were lost. The deceased ages ranged from one-year-old to 60 plus years of age, which is a positive aspect of this project because it discussed the differences between losing a small child and someone that may have been in your life much longer.
This project could be useful for therapy designed for children and the developmentally disabled. Art therapy is particularly beneficial for children because they
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do not always have the vocabulary or understanding of complex emotions to benefit from verbal therapy. Although visual art therapy can be helpful for everyone, there is a profound benefit in introducing visual art into therapy for children and developmentally disabled people because the creation of art can be beneficial where overwhelming or complex emotions are involved. Introducing visual art can be another outlet for young or mentally handicapped people to understand themselves, be able to overcome depression and trauma, and begin to gain relief and resolution from grief.86 In her book on art therapy, Cathy Malchiodi discusses how case studies have determined that traumatized children can use art therapy to deal with emotional crises. Malchiodi discusses art as a tool for children to feel safe to express themselves when words are not available to them.87
One case study examines the positive effects of using art therapy for children. A child named Amanda, who suffered from abuse and violence in her household, used art as a way to express this physical and emotional pain. Amanda, who was self-harming, also suffered from low self-esteem. Amandas behavior showed positive changes after only a few weeks of art therapy. She became more trusting and allowed her vulnerability to show during the creation of art. Amanda used printmaking to transform destructive physical and emotional energy into something very colourful and impressive. The aspect of play in the creation of art helped Amanda enjoy art therapy and led to better self-confidence because the prints were admired by other children. After a few weeks of
86 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 133.
87 Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, 135-136.
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visual art therapy, Amanda was comfortable with discussing the issues in her family more openly.88
Art therapy programs for the developmentally disabled can help improve their social functioning, personal expression and social relationships. The Centre for the Arts in Human Development (CAHD) is a program in Montreal that aims toward providing creative art therapy for adults with developmental disabilities. CAHD aims to improve self-esteem, confidence, social skills, and general quality of life by programs such as music, dance, plays, and visual art. These programs have yielded positive results. Parents, caregivers, and other supervisors who interact with the developmentally disabled clients daily see positive results in creative accomplishments, social skills, self-esteem, and communication. Through the help of CAHD programs, clients build friendships and develop a voice through their creativity that helps advocate for themselves as well as educate others.89
Lastly, I found it interesting that I had only one male participant. I believe there is a societal stigma that discourages men from showing their emotions, but it would be beneficial to encourage more male participation in this project.
The goal of this project was to explore the connection between visual art therapy and people that have suffered from a loss. The aim was to encourage participation in visual art therapy because it is more safe than medicinal therapy and more individualized and limitless than verbal therapy. Although this might still hold true, visual art therapy
88 D. Waller, Art Therapy for Children: How It Leads to Change, Clinical Child Psychology and
Physchiatry, (2006): 274.
89 Suzanne Lister et al., Development of a Creative Arts Therapies Center for People With Developmental
Disabilities, Art Therapy (2011): 34-36.
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might not be the platform for everyone. There is not one universal type of therapy that can positively affect the bereaved, but visual art therapy has proven to be beneficial to many. As Andrias participation proves, sometimes art or photography isnt enough.
My Love Was Lost presented a project that shows how visual art therapy can be beneficial to people that want to discuss and heal from the loss of a loved one. A grief story is never complete; the grieving process is never over. But there is beauty in the realization that loss means that we once had. Judith Butler perfectly describes this idea, saying If we have lost then it follows that we have had, that we have desired and loved, that we have struggled to find the conditions for our desire.. ,90
As humans, we learn that life does go on and there are positive emotions that can be accomplished by allowing ourselves to grieve. As the editors of For the Bereaved explain, regaining the pleasures of living after loss is not disloyal, but rather the greatest tribute [you] can pay to the memory of the lost one; a resumption of living free from the haunting pangs of past sorrow.91
90 Judith Butler, Precarious Life, 20.
91 Kutscher et al., For the Bereaved, 127.
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Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981.
Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2004.
Bonanno, George A. The Other Side of Sadness: What The New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss. New York City, New York: Basic Books, 2009.
Chapin, Sheena. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016.
Denolf, Andria. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016.
Dew, Richard. "When and How to Use Medicine for Grief." TAPS Magazine. Accessed
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Gibson, Margaret. Objects of the Dead: Mourning and Memory in Everyday Life. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2008.
Green, Zack. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016.
Harms, Ernest. "The Development of Modern Art Therapy." Leonardo 8, no. 3 (1975): 241-244.
Herper, Matthew. "America's Most Popular Mind Medicines." Forbes. Accessed March 25,2016. http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/16/prozac-xanax-valium-business-healthcare-p sy chi atri c-drugs. html.
Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York City, New York: Scribner, 1969.
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Malchiodi, Cathy A. The Art Therapy Sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007.
Margolis, Otto Schwarz., and Lillian G. Kutscher. Loss, Grief and Bereavement: A Guide for Counseling. New York: Praeger, 1985.
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author. February 11, 2016.
Neimeyer, Robert A., and Joseph M. Currier. Grief Therapy: Evidence of Efficacy and Emerging Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science 18, no. 6 (2009): 352.56.
Neimeyer, Robert A. Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. New York: Routledge, 2012.
Neimeyer, Robert A. "Part X: Integrating the Arts." In Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved, 199-229. New York City, New York: Routledge, 2012.
Rubin, Judith A. "Art Therapy Today." Art Education 33, no. 4 (1980): 6-8.
Suler, John. "Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche." Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche. Accessed April 13, 2016. http://users.rider.edu/~suler/photopsy/toc_sensation.htm.
Waller, D. "Art Therapy for Children: How It Leads to Change." Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 11, no. 2 (April 2006): 271-82.
Wetherell, Julie Loebach. "Clinical Research: Complicated Grief Therapy as a New Treatment Approach." Dialogues in ClinicalNeouroscience 14, no. 2 (June 2012): 159-66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384444/.
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Full Text

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My Love was Lost: A Project on Bereavement and Healing Art by Emerald Boes An undergraduate thesis submitted in partial completion of the M etropolitan State University of D enver Honors Program May 2016 Natascha Seideneck Leila Armstrong Dr. Megan Hughes Zarzo Primary Advisor Second Reader Honors Program Director

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My Love Was Lost : Exploring the Connections between Photography and Bereavement Emerald Boes Undergraduate Thesis Paper 05/06/16

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! "! Introduction Visual art therapy is an affective method of therapy for bereavement that is more beneficial than verbal therapy or medicinal therapy. Using visual art in therapy is highly individualized, succeeds in communicating emotions when verbalization fails, and does not cause dangerous side effects or addictions like medicinal therapy. Visual art, especially photography, is a more affective alternative to verbal therapy because many people do not have the vocabulary to discuss or understand the complex emotions of death and loss. Unlike verbal therapy, visual art therapy can be individualized to meet the specific needs and goals of each patient, because creative platforms have less boundaries and limitations than language. Medicinal therapy, although helpful in specific cases, can lead to side effects, overdose, and in many cases are extremely addictive. With the benefits of visual art therapy in mind, I began a photography project titled My Love Was Lost that focuses on using creativity and community to discuss the grieving process after the loss of a loved one. This project is personal to me; after the death of my best friend Marquelle in a car accident in 2013, I turned to visual art, especially photography, as a therapeutic tool to try to understand the emotions I was feeling. I began My Love Was Lost in the Spring of 2015 to explore the unique qualities of the grieving process with participants in Colorado. The project is collaborative and meant to enable a community to openly discuss individual experiences of grief and loss It was important that the subjects had someone to talk to that had experience in both photography and bereavement. This built trust and created a more comfortable environment for the bereaved. My Love Was Lost includes interviews, discussion, and

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! #! photographs of the participants. The photographs are all portraits, but differ from image to image because of the effects of collaboration and the individual experience. The discussion and interviews are openly structured, but focus on memories of the lost loved one, the participants grieving process and what the experience of grief and death has taught them. The goal of this project is to create a safe-space for the bereaved to discuss their grief and loss. Through the use of a creative platform, My Love Was Lost encourages positive healing, discussion, and recovery from bereavement. Through collaboration, this project creates a comfortable environment for sharing the emotions and feelings of loss that may be difficult to open up about. Sharing the ind ividual experiences of grief builds a community that can be beneficial to the bereaved because if enforces that they are not alone in this process.

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! $! Field Research & Case Studies Death is a part of the cycle of life that will inevitably affect our own lives as well as the lives of the ones we love. Since we all experience death, we will likely all experience grief at some time during our life. Grief has been defined as the emotional response to loss. The grieving person is affected in every aspect of life by the sorrow of their loss.1 Grief has been studied extensively and comes in many different forms. Not only do we grieve a death, but we can also grieve the loss of a job, home, relationship or ones health. Bereavement is a special type of g rief that comes specifically from experiencing the death of a loved one. When we lose someone that is an important part of our life, we become disassociated and cannot find the right way to react.2 Loss of a loved one not only represents the experience of death, but also our relationship with ourselves because it completely changes our status in life. It can make a child into an orphan, a wife into a widow, or a friend into a survivor.3 The loss of a significant loved one can produce many negative psychol ogical responses including anxiety, loneliness, depression, confusion, helplessness, fear and anger.4 Death is an alien intruder and enemy, affecting the bereaved person with an unending cycle of grief. In modern society, there is a stigma with bereaved people; certain ways to grieve are acceptable, but other ways are not.5 We teach people they mus t grieve and recover quickly. Stigmas say that if we continue to grieve for too long, we !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 Otto Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement: A Guide for Counseling (New York: Praeger, 1985), 45. "!Judith Butler, Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. (London: Verso, 2004), 22.!#!Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 47.!$!Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 47.!%!Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 48.!

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! %! might as well be living death, and the acceptance of grief was the only way to heal and find peace.6 To effectively aid the healing process of loss, we must understand the complexity of bereavement and mourning. There are infinite methods for mourning because each individual experience with loss is different. But, we shouldnt have to deal with this difficult process of life alone. Therapy is essential to healing because you can work with another person, usually a trained professional. Trauma of this magnitude can lead to both psychological and physiological is sues, especially if left untreated. Throughout this paper, I will discuss the idea of a grief story. This story is a unique aspect of each persons grieving process. The grief story includes an introduction of the deceased person, a discussion on the events of their loved ones death and their age and relationship to the bereaved participant. This story also includes specific aspects of the bereaved participants grief. This can include how they mourned, what they have learned from experiencing loss, what they feel or did feel during any time of their grieving process, and their current emotional state in re lation to their grief. The idea of the grief story is important to this project because it communicates the individuality of grief and explains the structuring of each photograph. The first step to the journey of understanding and healing from loss is to accept the process of mourning. Being able to grieve a death does not mean you have to forget or replace this person. Instead, grieving helps to accept that the loss makes you undergo something that will change you forever; Perhaps mourning has to do with agreeing to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &!Margolis et al., Loss, Grief, and Bereavement, 48.!

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! &! undergo a transformation.7 We should not fear the process of grief. Trying to ignore or escape our grief will only hinder the healing process .8 There are many methods surrounding the discussion and treatment of grief. Some popular methods include the Kubler-Ross Model of therapy, use of the pharmaceutical industry, and verbal art therapy including discussion with a therapist and written activities such as journaling. These types of treatment are often debated because grief has unique qualities and symptoms for each individual. Grief and recovery are not quantifiable; we cannot understand it through specific measurements or research. We can only observe the effects of different therapies and decide which type of therapy works best for that persons individual experience. One of the most widely accepted models for the treatment of grief is the KublerRoss Model of the Five Stages of Loss. Elizabeth Kubler-Ross designed this model in her book On Death and Dying in 1969. Kubler-Ross lists five stages: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. The denial phase is the initial stage defined as a period where the dying or the bereaved cannot accept the truth and deny the possibility of death. The second phase, anger, is categorized by searching for blame and releasing angry emotions. Bargaining is the stage where one tries to postpone the pain, and can be done privately or publicly. For example, Oh please, God, I promise to never complain again if you just give me one more chance The fourth stage in the Kubler -Ross model is depression. This is the stage where the denial ends and the pain and sadness come into play. Lastly, the fifth phase is acceptance. This does not mean the sadness is gone, but just that we can finally reintegrate back into normal life and put energy into other things !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '!Butler, Precarious Life, 21.!( Butler, Preca rious Life, 2930.!

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! '! besides our grief. The Kubler-Ross stages are said to be true for both the dying and the bereaved person, but are in no way linear. However, the book explains, both the dying and bereaved tend to always move toward acceptance.9 This theory is controversial, and psychologists such as George Bonanno have examined the flaws of the Kubler-Ross Model. Since each individual experiences grief differently, it makes it pointless to try and organize it into specific stages There are some people that go through all five stages, but there are others indefinitely active in only one. For some, grief never ends and they never reach the acceptance phase. Bonanno, who is a professor of clinical psychology, explains how some people refuse to succumb to their grief, and therefor do not experience any of the stages.10 Another method of treating grief is through medication. Even though this holds a stigma as being a crutch, the pharmaceutical industry is still a booming business in our society. The pharmaceutical industry is worth $300 billion a year, and is only expected to continue growing. Grieving participants are often prescribed medications for treatment of the illnesses of depression and anxiety that arise after a loss. Doctor Richard Dew, a physician who wrote an article about using medication for grief explains how, while most people who are grieving do not need any medication, it can be necessary for some people to survive their pain and grief When appropriately prescribed and used by patients, anti-anxiety or depression medication can help treat these illnesses in bereaved patients. However, Dew advises that caution must be exercised in deciding when to use !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 9 Kubler Ross, On Death and Dyin g, 10 Bonanno, The Other Side of Sadness: What the New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss 2141.

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! (! drugs. Popular medications for grief include Xanax and Valium, which are anti-anxiety pills, and Prozac and Zoloft, which are anti-depressants.11 Doctors in our country are infamous for overprescribing and mixing multiple medications. This can lead to detrimental effects, such as overdose, addiction and death. In the United States, over 100,000 people die from pharmaceutical drugs annually. This is more than the annual death rate of illegal drugs and traffic accidents. These deaths stem from overdoses caused by addiction, and overprescribin g or mixing medications by doctors. The annual profit of Prozac in 2000 was over a billion dollars, and reached over 40 million users. In 2010, doctors wrote nearly 50 million prescriptions for Xanax and its generic equivalent.12 The pharmaceutical industry is thriving off of the unhealthy medicines that are being prescribed. Xanax and Valium are only healthy for short-term use but are potentially addictive and may even make depression worse. Antidepressants arent usually as addictive, but can cause side effects like aggravating heart or prostate conditions.13 As Dr. Joseph Mercola explained: Death by medicine is a twenty -first century epidemic, and Americas war on drugs is clearly directed at the wrong enemy. Another common method of therapy is verbal therapy, which is a popular method to help bereaved patients open up about their loss. Julie Loebach Wetherell, a clinical psychologist, presents research using verbal and written therapy methods. Wetherell describes a type of grief therapy divided into sixteen sessions. In the first three sessions, she familiarizes herself with the patient and builds trust. In sessions four through nine, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ))!Richard Dew, When and How to Use Medicine for Grief, last modified Fall 2010, http://www.taps.org/magazine/article.aspx?id=7096.!)"!Matthew Herper, Americas Most Popular Mind Medicines, last modified September 16, 2010, http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/16/prozac xanaxvalium business healthcarepsychiatricdrugs .html.!)#!Dew,!When and How to Use Medicine for Grief.!

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! *! she has her patients perform a number of exercises. These exercises include both verbal and written activities. For example, in one exercise the client visualizes a story and then records it on a tape recorder. In other exercises, the client fills out forms, questionnaires, and enters into an imaginative conversation, where they pretend they are able to talk to the deceased. In sessions ten through sixteen, Wetherell and her patient meet to review progress and decide if treatment is ready to be concluded.14 Wetherell applied this method on a 52-year-old widow named Ann who lost her husband to cardiac arrest four years previously. During her therapy, Ann completed a grief diary and did situational revisiting, where the client revisits places they used to go to with the deceased. Wetherell did not introduc e any visual art therapy into her study. Although Ann felt that these exercises helped reduce her pain and made her feel like she was doing much better, the introduction of visual art into her therapy could have been beneficial to capture the emotions and feelings that Ann wouldnt have been able to verbalize because of lack of vocabulary or lack of understanding of the emotions of loss.15 These benefits of art therapy are discussed in case studies later in this text, explaining how introducing artistic creation into therapy can strengthen the healing process. Because of the individualized nature of grief, is there an effective way to provide therapy for the bereaved? Although it might be shaped differently for each individual, it is crucial for some type of grief therapy to occur. Traumatic experiences can often make us confused and depressed.16 Leaving the symptoms of grief untreated can lead to !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )$!Julie Loebach Wetherell, Clinical Research: Complicated Grief Therapy as a New Treatment Approach, Dialogues in Clinical Neuroscience (2012): 161 162.!)%!Wetherell, Clinical Research 162 164.!)&!Cathy A. Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook, (New York: McGraw Hill, 2007), 144.!

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! )+! vulnerability, functional impairment, cardiac events, high blood pressure, substance abuse, and suicidal thoughts. The psychology department of the University of Memphis analyzed the effect of therapy on bereaved people and concluded on average, all of the groups displayed positive change at post-treatment and follow-up, so that favorable intervention effects, when these were observed, resulted from greater reductions in distress in intervention recipients than in those who went without formal help.17 The University of Memphis created a meta-analysis on all research about grief therapy that had controlled outcomes. They created a review to analyze all of these sources. There were forty-eight published peer-reviewed articles and another sixteen unpublished dissertations. Analyzing these case studies created a comprehensive discussion on the effectiveness of grief therapy and aimed to evaluate any commonalities between the studies to better understand grief therapy. Some study results showed that treatment can have no or even a negative effect on the bereaved, while others showed encouraging positive effects after providing therapy. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 17 Robert A. Neimeyer and Joseph M. Currier. Grief Therapy: Evidence of Efficacy and Emerging Directions, Current Directions in Psychological Science (2009), 3523 56.

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! ))! As indicated in the graph above, overall effectiveness did not point toward one cohesive picture of grief therapy. However, they did see the positive effect of grief therapy versus the no-intervention control groups. They concluded there was a need to divide the studies and analyze what could have accounted for the different results.18 Overall, the University of Memphis concluded that the results did show grief therapy can be helpful to a range of people contending with a range of losses, ameliorating many forms of distress in the near and long-term aftermath of bereavement.19 Grief therapy is proven to be beneficial, but difficulties lie within the way it is structured for each person. Visual art therapy is a method of therapy that can be individualized according to the needs of each specific patient. Art therapy is an expansive discourse in the fields of psychology and therapy, and it has already yielded positive results and feedback discussed later through case studies by psychologists and art therapists. Humanity has always used art as a way to create change, fuel positive transformation, and encourage healing. For many years The Navajo, for example, have !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! )(!Neimeyer and Currier, Grief Therapy, 352356.!)*!Neimeyer and Currier, Grief Therapy, 355.!

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! )"! for many years combined song, dance and sand painting to encourage the healing of people with illnesses. Since the Paleolithic Period, the creation of visual imagery has been used in funeral ceremonies to make the event more special and important.20 Art therapy differs from the discipline of verbal therapy because it is experimental and can provide a place where new attitude and feelings can be expressed and tried out.21 Although it is broad and individualized, the discipline of art therapy has devised some standards on how to structure art therapy for grief. These standards help psychologists design art therapy for their patients that fuel the healing process. The first standard psychologists must remember is to trust their intuition This is unique to the creative aspect of art therapy, because art carries no rules or boundaries. There may not be concrete, logical reasoning for the subject matter in the art created, but the final product is not the most important part. In art therapy, it is often the process that tends to be the most helpful in working with bereavement. The point is not necessarily to create something considered good art, but instead to experiment without any limitations or boundaries that other types of therapy might have.22 Psychologists agree not to interpret the subject matter in the images literally. Like most art, you must try and recognize the symbolism and metaphors to understand the meaning. Often, it might be helpful to let them create the image and then discuss it later. The final product might be something that takes time to process, but writing or talking can be helpful in addition to find the meaning within the artwork created. It is important to remember that significance lies in the healing power of creation, not the final product. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "+ Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 142.!")!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 36.!""!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 5659.!

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! )#! It is also beneficial to structure art therapy to have a goal or intention. The creation of art requires bravery and courage; it is a stepping-stone toward positive change. The intention you set will be what the patient takes away from the process of creation and discussion of their grief.23 For example, if the bereaved is a survivor, the intention may be to create art that shows they are experiencing survivors guilt. Art therapy first appeared at the beginning of the 19th century in German and American mental institutions. It simultaneously emerged as a tool for the mentally handicapped to communicate with others, as well as for therapeutic purposes. Methods used in art therapy include both analyzing and creating art, such as the Rorschach Method of analyzing ink blots, the Good-Enough Method of interpreting drawings of the human body, and the free creation of art, which helps to gain insight on pathological condi tions, tendencies and desires. Where verbal expressions fail, art can be the next best way to interpret and understand.24 Although it was first utilized 200 years ago, art therapy is still an infant in the family of mental health disciplines. 25 For the bereaved, creating artwork is a way to fill the void left by loss. Still, it wasnt until 1969 that the American Art Therapy Association (A.A.T.A.) was established. This marked a progression in therapy and introduced art as a critical therapeutic tool .26 Margaret Naumburg is a pioneer of art therapy. Naumburg is a psychotherapist who connected the use of art therapy in psychotherapy in the 1940s. She believed you could use art as a way to subconsciously create imagery about ourselves.27 Another !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "#!Malchiodi The Art Therapy Sourcebook 5659.!24 Ernest Harms, "The Development of Modern Art Therapy," Leonardo (1975): 241. 25 Judith A. Rubin, Art Therapy Today, Art Education (1980): 6. 26 Rubin, Art Therapy Today, 6 8. "'!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 35.!

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! )$! pioneer of art therapy is Mary Huntoon, who helped patients with emotional problems and trauma through the creation of art. Huntoon coined the term artsynthesis, which is described as the process of introspection and self-discovery that arose from many of her patients after completing therapeutic art.28 Artsynthesis was Huntoons way of introducing art into therapy for psychiatric patients. Huntoon was an artist, not a trained psychologist. Huntoon worked with the Menninger Clinic and had a profound impact on the discipline of art therapy when she introduced art classes in the clinics therapy sessions. She believed art had powerful effects on trauma, but the value lay in the creation of art instead of interpretation of the product or the diagnosis it could provide.29 Rebekah Near, an expressive arts therapist, conducted a study showing the importance of using visual art therapy for bereaved people. She discusses the practice as an emotional experience, including auditory, visual, and kinesthetic senses. During her sessions, Near sets up warm-ups for her patients to openly create using media such as painting and poetry. Through these warm-ups, she discusses how her patients are able to open up about their fears and reclaim the power of her life. The best way out of grief is to go through grief. The expressive arts offer a porthole into grief by engaging in poiesis learning through making.30 Cathy Malchiodi, a psychologist and licensed art therapist, uses art to help her patients deal with grief and loss. Malchiodi believes in the power of visual creation. One of her patients, Ben, was a high school senior dealing with the death of his m other from !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "(!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 37.!"*!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 37.!30 Robert A. Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved (New York: Routledge, 2012): 201204.

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! )%! cancer. Her illness affected him long before her death and he was experiencing emotions that were difficult to deal with. Malch iodi thought art could be a platform for Ben to express these emotions in a safe manner. Ben started creating paintings showing the struggles he was dealing with. In one painting, Ben showed himself tied to a rope, swinging. INSERT PAINTING IMAGE He explained how the act of swinging made him feel free, but at the same time the rope being tied to him made him feel trapped. Ben also created a self -portrait, which he discussed as showing how he felt cheated from missing high school events because of his mothers illness. Using art to deal with the difficulties of grief also helped a young girl named Sarah. At the time of her therapy, she was 13 years old and was dealing her grandfathers death. Sarah was drawn to painting as a way to deal with her depression. She create d a painting of a dream she had where her grandfather appeared surrounded by family members. INSERT PAINTING IMAGE In the dream, her grandfather told Sarah that everything was okay. She explained how waking up from the dream, she was overcome with feelings of peace. For both Ben and Sarah, art was used as a way of remaking the self after a loss through exploring, expressing and transforming feelings into visual images .31 Photography is a medium of visual art that allows unique opportunities for the bereaved person to create art while using images of their loved one. Nancy Gershman !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #) Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 145148.!!

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! )&! uses a method she calls Dreamscape, which allows the bereaved to use family photos to construct photomontages that preserves memories as well as build new memories of the deceased. Gershmans Dreamscape method utilizes all available images from a clients life to create a film still where the client is no longer stuck. These photomontages become a starting point for beginning the re-identification process in an individual rudderless from loss.32 Typical Dreamscapes are iconic and populated with images of people, objects, and landscapes that discuss the clients grief and hold positive connotations in their life.33 One case example from Gershmans Dreamscape method introduces Hope, a 62year-old mother who exhibited complicated grief and suicidal tendencies after her son was murdered. After verbal therapy showed no improvements, Hope was encouraged to turn to expressive arts therapy. However, Hope had no reaction to painting, saying: Using brush and paint, I couldnt deal with itI was completely numb. I wanted to do nothin, know nothin.34 Then Gershman introduced the Dreamscape method, and Hope agreed to try it. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #" Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 205. ##!Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 205. #$ Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 206 .!

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! )'! Throughout the process of creating photomontages, Hope expresses emotions of anger for the murderers, and delight when using positive photographs of family.35 Photography is an important media for art therapy because the emotional brain needs the language of sensory images, metaphors and symbols.36 Photographs deal with both our sensations and our perceptions. Sensations include the physical senses such as sight, sound and touch. Perceptions refer to the more psychological operations of the brain and how it organizes stimulations. Combining sensations and perceptions creates a powerful experience when viewing photographs that is specific to this media.37 Using positive images from their family to fuel playful, artistic creation encourages laughter, which stimulates the brain and releases dopamine into their system. This process of positive chemical release encourages recovery. Using personal family photographs allows the patient to reminisce on positive memories both during the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #%!Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 205.!#&!Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 205210.!#'!Suler, John. "Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche." http://users.rider.edu/~suler/photopsy/toc_sensation.htm.

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! )(! creative process and while reviewing the finished product. These photomontages allow the bereaved to use the strong bond with their loved one to work through their grief.38 Scientific evidence from the brains reaction with photography is furthered by powerful personal experiences with photography. Roland Barthes explains his personal relationship with photography and grief in his book Camera Lucida. For Barthes, examining photography was a way for him to deal with the distress of a recent bereavement. After losing his mother, he searched through photographs of her to try and compile a narrative for his own memory and grieving process.39 He was focused on photographys ability to be sentimental; to explore it not as a question, but as a wound: I see, I feel, hence I notice, I observe, and I think.40 After finally finding a photograph that Barthes thought represented the truth of his mother, he felt he had rediscovered her. This photograph helped his grief because it gave him a sentiment as certain as remembrance.41 According to Barthes, the power of the photograph lies in its ability to capture an essence of a person; a truth of identity. The photograph has an ability to capture the impossible science of the unique being.42 Photographs do not just draw on the past or try and restore what has been lost. They validate the existence of the memories, the qualities and the truth of the deceased. It is important that the photograph symbolizes more than just an image of the deceased; that it goes deeper than just surface representation.43 Barthes explains that what we lose with death is much more than these surface qualities. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #( Neimeyer, Techniques of Grief Therapy 205210.! 39 Roland Barthes, Camera Lucida, (New York: Hill and Wang, 1981), 63.!$+ Barthes, Camera Lucida, 32.!$) Barthes, Camera Lucida, 70.!$" Barthes, Camera Lucida, 71.!$# Barthes, Camera Lucida, 82.!

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! )*! This loss is not a figure, but a being; and not a being, but a quality (a soul): not the indispensable, but the irreplaceable.44 The unique capabilities of photography are what make it such a powerful tool to discuss grief. Photography is a media that can be used to shape visual art therapy, and it is a central aspect in the process of My Love Was Lost. The Project The process of My Love Was Lost starts with a brainstorming session between the bereaving participant and myself We discuss important locations that represent the life of the deceased and discuss objects that have an important relationship with the lost loved one. Then, they choose one or two locations and a few objects from this discussion that function as a personal memorial for their loved one. The location becomes the site of the photograph, and the objects are props included in each portrait. Locations are significant to the bereaving person because they function as a portal into an important memory. They can bring back stories that may have been tucked in the back of the brain, and they help the bereaved feel a connection with the individual that has passed away. Maybe it is a bowling alley where they both used to play, or the location of their gravesite. These locations are an important part to include in each photograph from this series, as a way to give the viewer some insight into the relationship of the bereaved and the deceased. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $$ Barthes, Camera Lucida, 75.!

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! "+! As explained in the book The Poetics of Space, the different locations we visit during our life hold our most treasured memories from the past. These places become a way for us to find comfort as well as function as a space to metaphorically and literally close our memories into.45 The home is particularly powerful as integration for the thoughts, memories and dream of mankind.46 The specific locations are important for our memories and for this project because they are suspended in a certain time. This means the more securely we link our memories with certain locations, the more secure their existence is in our reality. Bachelard explains our house is our corner of the world. As has often been said, it is our first universe; a real cosmos in every sense of the word.47 The specific objects are also important aspects of the photographs in My Love Was Lost. In some photos, the objects are other photographs. However, they could also be things like clothing, books, or jewelry. These objects can sometimes be all we physically have left of the person we lost, and it again strengthens the connection between the bereaved and the ones they have lost. They are important memorabilia that we save after our loved ones death to remember them, like the way their shirt smells, or their silly smile in a snapshot. Objects hold significant value in the representation of the body and life of the deceased. After someone has died, it is common to keep many things to reconnect with him or her. In our society there are moral obligations to keep the material possessions, especially clothing, within the family and friends of the person that has died. However, it !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $%!Gaston Bachelard et al., The Poetics of Space (Boston: Beacon Press, 1994), 4 10.!$&!Bachelard, et al., The Poetics of Space, 6.!$' Bachelard, et al., The Poetics of Space, 4 10.!

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! ")! can also be important to let go of unnecessary, unusable items that are not connected with memories of that person. But, the items that hold value are important as property, metaphors and symbols of love and identity, and the function and power of objects to bind and unbind family relationships.48 Specific objects, tangible or not, are powerful enough to change and aid the grieving process.49 In the photographs of My Love Was Lost, specific objects are valued for their ability to have things, both tangible and intangible as triggers.50 Jean -Paul Sartre discusses the relationship between people and personal possessions as a fundamental step for humans to feel complete. When we do not keep some of the possessions that function as a connection with the deceased, w e feel like we are lacking something. From the time we are born until the time we die, we gain possessio ns constantly. It is a way our society understands itself and its relationship with the world. Material possessions are a universal symbol of life.51 Man y bereaved people have experiences with keeping material possessions from their loved ones because of their value to symbolize their life. Elizabeth lost her father, a sea captain, when she was only twenty -seven years old. She kept some of his objects as a way to memorialize his life. She placed value on some items more than others because of the level of their connection with precious memories or their relationship. She explains: But what I really value is a button off [his captains] uniformIve got one of those buttons; I just go all goose pimplybecause I always remember them just being around the house and they were also a part of Dad Oh, and I have a !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $(!Margaret Gibson, Objects of the Dead: Mourning and Memory in Everyday Life (Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2008), 3.!$*!Gibson, Objects of the Dead 42.!%+!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 5.!%)!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 2034.!

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! ""! pocket-knifethose were two things out of a life of fifty-six years and thats whats really important to me. Theyre symbols; theyre tangibles; and I can hold that and say, You were here, and this is not just a figment of my imagination.52 One of the most important objects the bereaved place value upon are photographs, especially containing the deceased. Photographs are a look into the actual life of a person; a form of visual biography.53 They are the brains connection to a memory, whether the specific photo captures that memory or not. It can trigger something outside the frame.54 Photos are especially important for the bereaved as they link the past with the present. They serve as a moment frozen in time, forever showing the mortal body of the person that now lives only in the past.55 This idea of mortality and photography comes from writings by Roland Barthes and Susan Sontag. They discuss how photographs are melancholy objects, meaning they are representative of the unrepeatability of a moment or a presence. Photographs are a memento mori as well as a way to understand the mortality of a life that will one day be taken from the reality that existed in the photograph. While they may represent many people still alive, they can also represent the absence of a person. Photography is a medium made for mourning, which is why it is an important aspect of the photographs in My Love Was Lost.56 In a book titled The Blackwater Nightship, Helen, a 10-year-old daughter returns to her fathers closet after hearing of his death. She felt solace and value in his clothing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! %"!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 2 5.!%#!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 79.!%$!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 81.!%%!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 80.!%&!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 85101.!

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! "#! and how they showed his absence. She even chooses an outfit, creates an automation of his body, and cuddles with it for comfort.57 Objects, tangible or not, represent a memorial for the deceased and the idea of a strangeness of real izing that things have outlived persons.58 When the bereaved are seeing, smelling, touching or talking about clothing that belonged to the loved ones they lost, they are reliving the stories these objects hold.59 The next part in the process of My Love Was Lost is photographing the participants. To capture the mood of their grief story, I wanted to keep the pose and positioning natural. This meant instead of giving a lot of direction to the participant s, I let them move naturally around the location and interact naturally with the objects. This creates a more relatable emotion and lets the bereaved participate in the creation of the photo. After letting the participant get comfortable in their environment, I take about 50100 digital photographs. After shooting and reviewing the photographs to make sure we both liked them, I would then set my camera to video and we would talk for about five to ten minutes. These conversations were loosely structured interviews where I asked them questions about their grieving process. I would ask questions like what have you learned from the experience of grieving? and how have you grieved since the loss? By keeping it loosely structured, I could allow any unique aspects of their grief to come to light. This interview was helpful for me to communicate the participants grief stories. I use these videos to analyze the photographs we created and pull quotes from the interview to create the titles of each photograph. I want to use the titles as a way to create a co ndensed !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! %'!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 108.!%(!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 1.!%*!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 41.!

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! "$! version of each persons grief story. For example, a participant who lost their husband might have a title that reads, I just miss waking up next to him. After the shoot, I would spend the next week or so sorting the photographs and picking out a few that I felt were technically the strongest but also conveyed the grief story of that participant. In some cases, I would send a few photos to the participant and ask which ones they thought best portrayed their grief story as well. This would factor into my decision of what photographs to choose for this project because I wanted it to be collaborative and result in photographs the bereaved participants had a strong connection with. After we chose the one or two photographs that were going to be part o f the project, I would edit the technical aspects of the photograph. For example, I would adjust the color balance or brightness if needed. However, I wanted to keep the photographs realistic and not add on any drastic effects. This was an important decision for the project because the minimal editing makes them more recognizable and relatable to the participants and other viewers of this project. When I sent the participants the final photograp hs, I also sent them a post-process interview. The questions of the interview are as follows: 1. How did you feel about talking about your grief and your loss while creating photographs meant to symbolize the importance of that person? 2. What are your thoughts on the connection between art and the grieving process? 3. After seeing the final photograph(s), how do you feel that this project affected your grieving process?

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! "%! 4. Did you feel like the creative process was a good way for talking about your individual experience with grief? 5. What do you feel is the importance of using photography to share your grief story? 6. Any other questions, comments or concerns? These questions were meant to further the understanding of grief and how the bereaved were affected after participating in this project. I wanted to keep the questions broad to inspire the possibility of unique answers. The post-process interview was another opportunity for the bereaved participant to reflect on the project and offer any advice for the future of this project. I also used the interview as a way to further analyze the effect this project had on the participant. The photographs of My Love Was Lost have some similarities throughout the project. The series is meant to be more natural and candid so I could try to capture true emotions while they were discussing their grief story with me. Throughout the series, I use different photographic techniques with lighting, subject matter, editing and other compositional techniques to capture the idea of grief in visual forms. The bereaved participants and I discuss all of these things and collaborate on how to compose the photographs. We also collaborate on how to present the location and objects that are featured alongside them in the photographs. After shooting the images, the bereaved and I continue to collaborate about which photos we feel best expresses their grief story. Sometimes, this means we choose diptychs. Some of the photographs were combined into diptychs because it better featured the location in one photo and the object in the other. Others are diptychs because

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! "&! they discuss two different grief stories or felt they needed multiple photos to express the entirety of their grief story. Most importantly the goal was to let the individual grief experience create an individual grief photograph or photographs. The Photographs Sheena Sheena is the first participant in My Love Was Lost. Her best friend Alex committed suicide five years ago and since then her grief story has transformed her life and the way she looks at day-to-day interactions. Sheena explains their eight-year friendship, and how they constantly influenced and inspired each other. But her favorite part of their friendship was how they were constantly dying of laughter. The biggest thing he taught me was to take every sad moment with a grain of salt and make sure youre laughing at all times, she tells me.60 For so long, she blamed herself for his suicide, but now she explains theres nothing I could have done and it has taken me this long to truly understand and believe that.61 She explains how now, after years of grieving, she realizes if her stomach isnt hurting from laughing everyday, then what is !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &+!Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.! &)!Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! "'! the point of living? His suicide was an awakening for her, and she tells me how it has affected her outlook on life. It taught me a lot about your interactions with peoplebecause they could be having the worst day of their life, and I always think maybe if someone had just told [Alex] one thing, it could have given him a minute longer62 Almost half of the participants in My Love Was Lost suffer from loss by suicide. The psychological effects on the survivors of suicide are different than any other type of grief. Their emotions are intensified and aggravated. Alongside normal grief emotions like anger or sadness, survivors of suicide might also feel guilt, shame and hopelessness because they couldnt prevent their loved ones death. The survivor is often obsessed by the thought that the death might have been prevented, and sees himself in the role of the potential rescuer and intervener who has failed.63 Because of these complex emotions, the bereaved from suicide may need help even more than others.64 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &"!Sheena Chapin, Interview t o author. February 11, 2016.!&#!Austin Kutscher et al., For the Bereaved (New York: F. Fell 1971), 124.!&$!Kutscher et al., For the Bereaved, 123 124.!

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! "(! Sheenas first photograph is an intimate portrait of her standing in front of a colorful wall of graffiti. Her eyes are looking down at two bracelets on her wrist. One reads Alex. Next to these bracelets she has a tattoo on her wrist that reads bbycakes with a small red heart next to it. Her finger is stroking her wrist and she has a small smile on her face. The tattoo is a significant reminder of Alex because it is her memorial tattoo for him. Bbycakes was their nickname for each other and she wanted to get it ta ttooed on her wrist as a constant reminder of their friendship. The colorful bracelets on her wrist belonged to Alex, and it reminds her of the memories of them beading the bracelets together. She kept them after his death because they are objects that represent more than material items. These are the objects that symbolize their relationship; the sacred objects tell her unique grief story. Pieces of jewelry are especially sacred after death because they were worn by the deceased; necklaces laid close to th e heart and bracelets touched the wrists of our loved ones. We decided to choose the photograph where she was looking down on these objects with a small smile to draw importance to the objects and show her reminiscing on past memories they shared.

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! "*! The second photograph of Sheena shows her sitting on a windowsill on a wall full of bright, colorful lines of graffiti. The lines are converging toward her, leading the eyes straight to her position on the sill where she is kicking her feet and laughing openly. She is looking off into the distance to something beyond the photograph. Both of Sheenas photographs are placed in front of large walls of graffiti. Sheena chose this location because it reminded her of Alex. One of their favorite activities to do together was search for graffiti to photograph around Glenwood Springs. They loved all of the colorful art hidden in alleyways and behind buildings. They took pride in being the first ones to find these secret walls of art. We chose this specific graffiti wall because the converging lines lead straight to Sheena, drawing your eyes straight to her laughing face and hinting at the individuality of her grief. The bright colors of the graffiti wall as well as her laughter shows her experience with accepting her grief and moving forward to promote suicide prevention and continue spreading happiness to others in need. It also symbolizes the importance of laughter throughout their friendship. Another aspect included in this photograph is the presence of a window. Shown in a photograph, the window symbolizes another realm; a passage meant to connect the living with the realm of the dead. After showing Sheena the final photographs, I emailed her the post-process interview questions listed above. Sheena explains how the process of creating photographs to symbolize Alex was important to her because she wanted to express her gratitude that she had the privilege to be great friends with him for a long part of his life. Sheena explains how she thinks art is the only cure for grief, and she enjoyed the laughter and happiness shown in her photographs because the experience made her remember all

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! #+! the of the good times they shared. For Sheena, it was important to share her grief sto ry because it is something everyone can relate t o because everyone experiences deep loss. Sheena loved the easiness of using photography to share her grief story, because it proves we are not alone in the challenges we face throughout life.65 And, she says, they always took photos together, so it was the best outlet to capture and share her grief story. Zack In January of 2012, Zach began his grief story when his first nephew unexpectedly died at only 14 months old. His name was James C. Green, and it happened while Zack was in the middle of his junior year. He explains how tough this was for him, because it was his familys first grandchild and his first experience with loss. James death affected his family a lot, and made Zack want to drop out of high school. He explains to me I almost dropped out of schooldidnt really give a shit but I talked to the pastor that did his funeral and he was like well, I dont think hed want you to drop out.66 So he stuck with it and graduated a year later. With a smil e, Zack tells me stories about watching baby James, and how before him, he wasnt really fond of kids. But watching him grow from a newborn baby to 14 months of age made him really attached to him. Zack continues talking about losing other members of his f amily, and explains his thoughts on the individuality of loss. Whether its your grandpa, or your best friend, or your nephew, it strikes you differently because of the connection you had with them.67 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &%!Sheena Chapin, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!&&!Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!&'!Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #)! The first photograph of Zack shows him seated on a couch. There is a large, bright window behind his head. On the far left of the photograph, there is a photo album open, as if he was just looking through it. He is holding up a framed photograph of a baby boy, laughing, covered in chocolate cake. His right arm is extended to reveal a memorial tattoo that reads In loving memory of James C. Green. Underneath are two dates. Zach is looking straight at the camera with glossy eyes. This photograph in Zacks hand as well as the open album across his lap are important because they are all his family has left of baby James. They have drawers and albums full of photographs of James. These photographs are important to Zacks family and function as connections with the memories they had with James. Photographs are especially important objects used throughout this project because of their ability to imply things outside of the frame.68 As Margaret Gibson explained in her book Objects of the Dead, photographs are sacred because they can simultaneously reveal presence and absence, existence and non-existence.69 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! &(!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 81.!&*!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 88.!

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! #"! Zack is also holding out his arm with his memorial tattoo for James. During the photoshoot, Zack explained how his family all went to get these tattoos as a way to grieve together. This photograph was taken in the couch of their living room, which is where Zack would babysit James and play with him. He explains how James would pull all of the CDs out of the CD rack, but he was too cute to make Zack mad. The window is also a significant element of the photograph, because it spreads life and light into the room and, as mentioned before, symbolizes the connection of different realms. Zacks second photograph shows him seated in the middle of a lush, green garden in the sunlight. The green plants are surrounding him, closing him into the garden in which he is sitting. He has a relaxed, bent-over stance and is again holding a framed photograph of the same baby boy. In this photograph, he has a hint of a smile but is still staring straight at the camera. This photograph is taken in the family garden behind Zacks house. This location was chosen because it is an important part of the familys grief story. It represents the community they shared, as they would work together to help the plants grow. These lush, green plants represent the growth of grief as they share the pain of losing a member of

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! ##! their family. It also represents the life that remains, and the life of baby James that they will always remember. The plants surround Zack, metaphorically wrapping him in life and keeping him safe. The photograph of baby James was chosen as a sacred object that the family held onto after his death. Zacks pose in this photograph is candid and relaxed, but his gaze straight into the camera is confrontational and speaks to the difficulty he had while sharing his grief story. Zacks post-process interview explains how he was affected positively by the project. He says he felt like weight was leaving his shoulders after the interview. The photographic process was relieving for Zack and knowing he was talking to someone who understands the pain of losing someone made him feel great. Zack believes there is a strong connection between art and grief because the final product is something to look on that brings back memories when you are going through a bumpy patch in the grieving process.70 It was really powerful for Zack to look at the final photographs and see how the emotions are displayed on his face; it reminded him how str ong these emotions are, even six years after his loss. The creative aspect of this project helped Zack become more comfortable talking about his grief. His interview ends with his explanation that he thinks photography is stronger than words, because it can express the power of grief unlike any words ever can. Andria Andrias grief story begins three-and-a-half years ago when her close friend Corey hung himself in a closet. Andria explains how Corey suffered from depression and they bonded over this, because she explains: I had already gone through it and kind of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '+!Zack Green, Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #$! worked my way out of that hole.71 They always hung out and talked about the issues he was facing in his life. During the conversations, Andria discussed how she was upset because no one knew he was in this state in his life; he had attempted suicide two weeks prior but did not tell anyone, and his parents made him return to school. Her biggest regret was that he had called her the night before his death and she wasnt able to pick up the phone. I dont even know what he was going to say she explains, but it could have been to say goodbye.72 Andrias photograph is simple, but powerful. It differs from the other photographs because it is black and white with heavy contrast as opposed to full color. She has a serious look on her face and is staring straight at the camera; her eyes are g lazed over. She is standing in an empty closet with the door ajar. She holds tightly onto a long, dark black rope hanging from the closet. The location of the closet in Andrias portrait symbolizes the site of death. The black rope she clings onto represents the method of his suicide. The mood of Andrias photograph is different then the other photos because it was important to Andria to represent the seriousness in her grief story. Coreys depression overwhelmed his life until !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ')!Andria Denolf Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!'"!Andria Denolf Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #%! it completely took over, and it was important to her to discuss the severity of depression. Andria also wanted to depict depression because it was the way they bonded and became friends. Andrias gaze is confrontational and serious as another way to depict the importance of spreading awareness of depression. Her tight grip on the rope shows a physical connection with the object of death. Andria is standing in the doorway of the closet because of the location, but the doorway is also a portal into another dimension, a way to collapse the realms between the living and the dead. Her photograph is the only one that is black and white, because the extreme contrast of black and white photography led to the serious tone of the photograph. Andrias post-process interview was a discussion on the importance of suicide awareness. Andria explains how she has come to terms with her loss, but wanted an outlet to express the seriousness of depression. Although she didnt feel this project particularly affected her grieving process, she believ es art can have beneficial effects on people that are grieving, even if it isnt the best process for everyone. This process helped her to begin the discussion on the particular aspects of grief from suicide. Andria explains that although it is a start, photography is not enough. We need to continue using other methods to raise awareness of depression and suicide.73 Madi Madi was a unique participant because she wanted to tell two different stories of grief from two different losses. The first grief story is about the death of her grandma, whom she referred to as MeMaw. During our conversations, Madi mentions how her grandmother killed herself in 2010. They had been extremely close; MeMaws house was !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '#!Andria Denolf Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #&! her escape from her stepfather, and Madi was always her grandmothers favorite grandchild. MeMaw was a second mother to her, she explains to me. It killed meripped a part of mes he was such a big part of my life and the next day she wasnt. Well, what could I have done better or done to not have it happen?74 When talking about her grief, Madi explains how after over five years, she can acknowledge her grief, but she is still not over it. She tells me it is interesting to see the progression of the pain.75 Madi explains to me how reading was an important part of their relationship. She could literally read a book a night, so I learned to love to read because of her, she would alw ays take us to the library and I would always get a big ass stack of books.76 Madis first image shows her standing between the aisles in a public library. The rows of books seem endless, converging in one-point perspective and creating a line of sight leading your eyes straight to Madi. There are books surrounding her, filling two huge shelves and stacked on the floor both in front of her and behind her. Madi is holding !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '$!Madi Dzikowicz Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!'%!Madi Dzikowicz Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!'&!Madi Dzikowicz Interview to author. Fe bruary 11, 2016.!

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! #'! a book, immersed in the text and flipping the corner of a page. The sunlight peeks through the shelves of the bookcase and lands on her cheek and waist. In this photograph, Madi is sitting between two aisles of books in a library because it is a location that was important to her and her grandmothers relationship. The books surrounding her give a sense of safety by familiar, comforting objects. This also functions as a framing device showing the individuality of her grieving experience. The lines formed by the aisles of books lead your eyes toward Madi and enforce the idea of individuality and the aloneness of grief. The soft light is entering the scene on Madis cheek and waist symbolizes a heavenly light suggesting an otherworldly presence. Madis finger is flipping the page of a book, symbolizing a new chapter of life that comes from time and healing. Madis second grief story began just a year and nine days after her grandmot her died. Her best friend Diana was killed in a car accident when she was only 16 years old. Madi talks about Diana with a smile on her face, as she explains how she was the sass master and very opinionated. This had caused a fight between them the year be fore her death, but they were able to rekindle their friendship before she passed. Madi doesnt even remember what caused it, but regretted that it happened before her unexpected death. She explains to me how she felt after hearing Diana was brain-dead in a coma. I remember thinking only comas and accidents happen on TV, this doesnt happen in real life, it definitely doesnt happen to me. This isnt real.77 Madi then opens up to me about her grieving process of binge-drinking. She explains how getting black-out drunk helped provide some sort of release from her !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ''!Madi Dzikowicz Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #(! grief from both MeMaw and Diana. She used drinking to cry it out and get the emotions out of her system, but the emotions havent gone away. Madi explains how she sometimes feels guilty about the fact that she doesnt cry about either death as much anymore. Her outlook has changed since her losses. Now, she can look at them like This happened. It really, really, really sucks but its going to be okay.78 The second image shows her standing in the middle of a four -way intersection, but there are absolutely no cars. You can see the crosswalks and light posts from three different roads of the intersection. In the back right, you can clearly read the street sign that says Yosemite St with an address below it. There are long, dark shadows coming from Madis body and from a street sign behind the photograph. She is standing and facing the camera head-on, with a serious look in her eyes. The location of this photograph was the site of death for Diana. We chose this location because we wanted to bring attention to the seriousness of driving, and how often car accidents are fatal. During our photo shoot, we decided to place Madi in the middle of the intersection. This represents the danger of a high traffic intersection. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '(!Madi Dzikowicz Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! #*! However, even though it was shot during rush hour, we decided to use a photograph that depicts no cars whatsoever. This represents the feelings of loneliness that comes along with grieving the loss of a close friend. The traffic sign is included in the photograph because the particular intersection of Yosemite has been known to be dangerous, and Madi explains how there have been many accidents the re since Dianas death. The serious look on her face and her connection with the camera was used as a way to draw importance to the danger of cars, because we have both have suffered losses from car accidents, as many other people have. Much like a window or mirror, the long shadows in this photograph serve as representations of a different realm. The shadows of Madis figure and the street post shadow are separated from the original object; they are only representations of the real thing. An example of a sacred object lies on her jacket over her heart. Madi is wearing a pin of Diana created for her memorial. It shows a photograph of Diana with her dates of birth and death. This object is particularly sacred to Madi because it serves both as an object and a photograph in one. Madi discussed how art and grief are completely intertwined in her story, and it was helpful to her grieving process to be able to work with me on this project. Since we have similar grief stories, it was easy for Madi to connect with me as a photographer and as someone to talk to about the important people she has lost. She explains how art is helpful as an outlet of grief because it provides a freedom of release you dont feel comfortable with in everyday life. After her grandmothers death, Madi used the art of writing to record her feelings of grief because art is both expressive and personal.

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! $+! After participating in this project, Madi felt like she had a bet ter understanding of her grief as well as the progress she has made since her losses. An interesting thought Madi shared during her post-process interview was that the camera was an especially helpful tool when discussing grief because it served as a wall; a distraction between the photographer and the participant which helped her feel more comfortable to be honest and open about her grief. She also felt photography was helpful because you didnt have to search for words to describe your grief, you could just show it. Using photography as the creative medium to share her grief story was also helpful because Madi explains that photographs have multiple meanings, which creates more ways for people to relate to the grief. She explains how photography is also powerful because it captures the fleeting moment; which in turn captures the emotions of that moment. After the project, Madi told me she was still thinking about the project and other ways to discuss grief, so it was a helpful platform to begin thinking about her grief story in a creative way. Mackenzie Mackenzies participation in this project was important to me, because we suffer from the same loss, but each with our own unique grief stories. Mackenzie is the older sister of Marquelle, my best friend that inspired this project. Marquelle was killed in a car accident in February of 2013. I have known her family thr oughout our friendship, so we all served as a community of support after Marquelles death. We grieved together. Because of this, the structure of our convers ation was a little different than my conversations with other participants. Our conversation was more specific about memories, what we miss, and things that still remind us of Marquelle.

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! $)! Throughout our conversation, we discussed the importance of music as an art form that can hold memories and remind us of Marquelle. We shared different songs that reminded us of her, and different memories we had with these songs. Mackenzie explains how it was only recently that she was able to listen to Marquelles favorite musician, Ben Howard. When she turned his album on in the car, she cried the whole way home. I talked about how I always hear songs I wish I could show her, and how one time I drove past her grave as soon as our song came on the radio. Mackenzies first photograph shows her seated in a windowsill in front of a large, bright window. She is clearly located in a bedroom, adorned with jewelry, photos, a bed, and a dresser. In the top left is a photograph of two women. She leans back against the windowsill and peers out of the bright window. The bright light coming in from the window illuminates her face. The location of this photograph is in their home where Marquelles old bedroom was. It has since been converted into a bedroom for their younger sister, but Mackenzie still comes in the room to remember all of the times they spent together in it. The large window serves again as another realm, but also brings a bright light into the room. Mackenzie is looking out of it, contemplating thoughts and memories of her loss. Above

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! $"! the window, there is a cross. The Miller family is religious, and their fa ith was an important aspect of their grief after Marquelles death. I have had many discussions with the Miller family about how she died so young because God needed another angel. The bright light of the window under the cross is symbolic of the heavens h er soul now resides in. The photograph on the left side of the image shows Marquelle with her younger sister. It was an important element to include in this image because it was taken at the photography business where I met Marquelle, and all three sisters have since worked there. The photograph is a sacred object, and we would always take photographs with each other at work. They hold important memories we all share together. The second photograph of Mackenzie shows the back of her head and her reflection as she stands facing a mirror. However, her gaze is fixed on an image in the top right corner of the mirror. The photograph shows a smiling young woman and reads Marquelle May Miller, Class of 2012. Mackenzie is looking up at the photograph with

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! $#! a smile seemingly unaware of the photographer. She is wearing a rainbow -striped jacket and the overhead lighting of the mirror brightens the photograph and casts softly over Mackenzies face. This photograph was taken in the mirror. Like a window, the inclusion of a mirror represents the connection between the two realms of living and dead. The photograph in the top corner furthers this idea, because it shows an image of Marquelle. The two sisters bear an uncanny resemblance; they could easily be mistaken as twins. Showing them side-by-side clearly represents that they are immediate family members. The photograph also represents the sacred object, an object that exceeds material valu e because it functions simultaneously as an object and a photograph of the deceased Her eyes are looking straight at the photograph, reminiscing on memories she shared with her sister. The colorful jacket was one of Marquelles favorite items of clothi ng. She wore it often, so it was an important object to keep after her death. The bereaved often find it crucial psychologically, physiologically and morally to hold on to objects of clothing. Not only are articles of clothing an object that tell stories and hold memories about the deceased, but it also retains traces of smell and suggests the size, age and shape of the wearers body.79 This ability to hold sensory connections with the body of the deceased may make clothing valued even higher than photogr aphs for the bereaved.80 The idea that clothes hold traces of the body of the deceased make it representative of the identity that explain how a life was spent.81 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! '*!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 104.!(+!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 111.!()!Gibson, Objects of the Dead, 112125.!

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! $$! On the wall in the right side of the mirror, reflected on the white jewelry holder are pieces of Marquelles jewelry. After her death, the jewelry was divided between the family and myself. Her pieces of jewelry are treasures that hold symbolic value after her death. The location in this photograph is still in Marquelle s bedroom. It is her vanity; the mirror Mackenzie is looking though is the same place Ma rquelle used to sit and put on her make-up or her jewelry. In her post-process interview, Mackenzie discusses how collaborating with me was a way to reflect on her own personal grief. With the large community of people who loved and grieved Marquelle, Mackenzie explains how it is difficult to find a balance between helping others and tending to your own heart.82 Mackenzie discovered the connection between art and grief after receiving a painting of a dancer after Marquelles death. Marquelle was a dancer as well, so the painting is comforting to Mackenzie because it represents the free-spiritedness of her sister. She also mentions the power of music, and says There are so many songs that I can only listen to with preparation because the feel of her presence is so strong when I play them.83 To Mackenzie, viewing the photographs was both settling and centering, Mackenzie explains how three years after her loss, it is nice to see photographs representing the presence of grief while still being bright and hopeful. She explains this beautifully, saying like the moment the sun comes up after you have been crying all night and the beauty of that moment shocks you out of your lamenting just long enough to wipe your face and feel a deep sense of hope in the beauty of a sunrise.84 Mackenzie !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ("!Mackenzie Miller Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!(#!Mackenzie Miller Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!($!Mackenzie Miller Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! $%! also explains how using the location of Marquelles bedroom was also powerful for Mackenzie because it documented the place that holds their memories. The creative process was helpful for Mackenzie because it allowed her to look at her grief through a different perspective. She explains how time heals all wounds, but sometimes it is hard to see until you have physical documentation you can look at and visually see it happening. Using photography to capture this moment of grief enables her to look back and comprehend the timeline of her grief story. The photograph stores her emotions at this phase of her grief and gives her an appreciation for how far she has come in her journey of loss. Mackenzie ends the interview by telling me how thankful she is that we could step into the grief story and affirm it by creating a beautiful expression of life.85 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (%!Mackenzie Miller Interview to author. February 11, 2016.!

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! $&! Results My Love Was Lost was an exploration of the relationship between visual art and grief. I started this project because visual art was extremely beneficial to my own grieving process, and I wanted to share this therapeutic tool with others. Overall, the results were even better than I had expected. All of the participants in this project, in one way or another, agreed art held an importance place in healing and bereavement. The open-ended conversation about the participants grief story functioned as a safe space to allow the participants to open up about things that were not easy to talk about. The photographs became physical products of their grief that documented memories with the deceased. They served as a tool the participants could look back at and reflect upon. Sheena reflected on the photographs and said they helped her remember memories with her lost loved one, and they were important because they could be relatable to anyone with deep loss. Zach thought the creative process was helpful to make him more comfortable to talk about his grief and the final photographs documented the

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! $'! true emotions he was feeling. Madi found it beneficial to be able to talk to someone who has also experienced grief, and she believes photography was useful because it allowed her to represent emotions that cant always be expressed verbally. The photographs were helpful to Mackenzies grieving process because they documented the progress she has made since her loss. Andrias experience with My Love Was Lost was interesting because she felt that it did not affect her grieving process. Rather, Andria thought the process was beneficial to spread awareness of depression and suicide. Being able to discuss her own grief story was a way for Andria to help other people relate to grief that comes from loss by suicide. However, Andria felt like this project was not enough, and photography was not the only tool that should be utilized to spread awareness and prevention of suicide. To better discuss the individuality of grief and serve as a therapeutic tool, this project could be expanded. My Love Was Lost was limited to participants from Colorado, but bereavement is a global issue. This project can be expanded throughout the world, and could be adapted for other photographers and participants to contribute. The participants were all in the same age group as well, from ages 20 -30 years old. It would be beneficial to open up this project for people of all ages, especially children. However, the ages were not similar when it came to the loved ones that were lost. The deceased ages ranged from one-year-old to 60 plus years of age, which is a positive aspect of this project because it discussed the differences between losing a small child and some one that may have been in your life much longer. This project could be useful for therapy designed for children and the developmentally disabled. Art therapy is particularly beneficial for children because they

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! $(! do not always have the vocabulary or understanding of complex emotions to benefit from verbal therapy. Although visual art therapy can be helpful for everyone, there is a profound benefit in introducing visual art into therapy for children and developmentally disabled people because the creation of art can be beneficial where overwhelming or complex emotions are involved. Introducing visual art can be another outlet for young or mentally handicapped people to understand themselves be able to overcome depression and trauma, and begin to gain relief and resolution from grief.86 In her book on art therapy, Cathy Malchiodi discusses how case studies have determined that traumatized children can use art therapy to deal with emotional crises. Malchiodi discusses art as a tool for children to feel safe to express themselves when words are not available to them.87 One case study examines the positive effects of using art therapy for children. A child named Amanda, who suffered from abuse and violence in her household, used art as a way to express this physical and emotional pain. Amanda, who was self-harming, also suffered from low self-esteem. Amandas behavior showed positive changes after only a few weeks of art therapy. She became more trusting and allowed her vulnerability to show during the creation of art. Amanda used printmaking to transform destructive physical and emotional energy into something very colourful and impressive. The aspect of play in the creation of art helped Amanda enjoy art therapy and led to better self confidence because the prints were admired by other children. After a few weeks of !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! (&!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 133.!('!Malchiodi, The Art Therapy Sourcebook 135136.!

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! $*! visual art therapy, Amanda was comfortable with discussing the issues in her family more openly.88 Art therapy programs for the developmentally disabled can help improve their social functioning, personal expression and social relationships. The Centre for the Arts in Human Development (CAHD) is a program in Montreal that aims toward providing creative art therapy for adults with developmental disabilities. CAHD aims to improve self -esteem, confidence, social skills, and general quality of life by programs such as music, dance, plays, and visual art. These programs have yielded positive results. Parents, caregivers, and other supervisors who interact with the developmentally disabled clients daily see positive results in creative accomplishments, social skills, self -esteem, and communication. Through the help of CAHD programs, clients build friendships and develop a voice through their creativity that helps advocate for themselves as well as educate others.89 Lastly, I found it interesting that I had only one male participant. I believe there is a societal stigma that discourages men from showing their emotions, but it would be beneficial to encourage more male participation in this project. The goal of this project was to explore the connection between visual art therapy and people that have suffered from a loss The aim was to encourage participation in visual art therapy because it is more safe than medicinal therapy and more individualized and limitless than verbal therapy. Although this might still hold true, visual art therapy !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ((!D. Waller, Art Therapy for Children: How It Leads to Change, Clinical Child Psychology and Physchiatry, (2006): 274.!(*!Suzanne Lister et al., Development of a Creative Arts Therapies Center for People With Developmental Disabilities, Art Therapy ( 2011): 34 36.!

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! %+! might not be the platform for everyone. There is not one universal type of therapy that can positively affect the bereaved, but visual art therapy has proven to be benef icial to many. As Andrias participation proves, sometimes art or photography isnt enough. My Love Was Lost presented a project that shows how visual art therapy can be beneficial to people that want to discuss and heal from the loss of a loved one. A gr ief story is never complete; the grieving process is never over. But there is beauty in the realization that loss means that we once had. Judith Butler perfectly describes this idea, saying If we have lost then it follows that we have had, that we have de sired and loved, that we have struggled to find the conditions for our desire90 As humans, we learn that life does go on and there are positive emotions that can be accomplished by allowing ourselves to grieve. As the editors of For the Bereaved explain, regaining the pleasures of living after loss is not disloyal, but rather the greatest tribute [you] can pay to the memory of the lost one; a resumption of living free from the haunting pangs of past sorrow.91 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! *+!Judith Butler, Precarious Life, 20.!*)!Kutscher e t al., For the Bereaved, 127 .!

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! %)! Bibliography Bachelard, Gaston, M. Jolas, and John R. Stilgoe. The Poetics of Space. Boston: Beacon Press, 1994. Barthes, Roland. Camera Lucida: Reflections on Photography. New York: Hill and Wang, 1981. Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. London: Verso, 2004. Bonanno, George A. The Other Side of Sadness: What The New Science of Bereavement Tells Us About Life After Loss. New York City, New York: Basic Books, 2009. Chapin, Sheena. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016. Denolf, Andria. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016. Dew, Richard. "When and How to Use Medicine for Grief." TAPS Magazine. Accessed

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! %"! March 25, 2016. http://www.taps.org/magazine/article.aspx?id=7096. Dzikowicz, Madi. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016. Gibson, Margaret. Objects of the Dead: Mourning and Memory in Everyday Life. Carlton, Vic.: Melbourne University Press, 2008. Green, Zack. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by author. February 11, 2016. Harms, Ernest. "The Development of Modern Art Therapy." Leonardo 8, no. 3 (1975): 241-244. Herper, Matthew. "America's Most Popular Mind Medicines." Forbes. Accessed March 25, 2016. http://www.forbes.com/2010/09/16/prozac-xanax-valium-businesshealthcare-psychiatric-drugs.html. Kubler-Ross, Elisabeth. On Death and Dying. New York City, New York: Scribner, 1969. Kutscher, Austin H., and Lillian G. Kutscher. For the Bereaved. New York: F. Fell, 1971. Lister, Suzanne, Denise Tanguay, Stephen Snow, and Miranda D'amico. "Development of a Creative Arts Therapies Center for People With Developmental Disabilities." Art Therapy 26, no. 1 (April 22, 2011): 34-37. Malchiodi, Cathy A. The Art Therapy Sourcebook. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2007. Margolis, Otto Schwarz., and Lillian G. Kutscher. Loss, Grief, and Bereavement: A Guide for Counseling. New York: Praeger, 1985. Miller, Mackenzie. "My Love Was Lost Post-Process Interview." E-mail interview by

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! %#! author. February 11, 2016. Neimeyer, Robert A., and Joseph M. Currier. Grief Therapy: Evidence of Efficacy and Emerging Directions. Current Directions in Psychological Science 18, no. 6 (2009): 352.56. Neimeyer, Robert A. Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved. New York: Routledge, 2012. Neimeyer, Robert A. "Part X: Integrating the Arts." In Techniques of Grief Therapy: Creative Practices for Counseling the Bereaved 199-229. New York City, New York: Routledge, 2012. Rubin, Judith A. "Art Therapy Today." Art Education 33, no. 4 (1980): 6-8. Suler, John. "Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche." Photographic Psychology: Image and Psyche. Accessed April 13, 2016. http://users.rider.edu/~suler/photopsy/toc_sensation.htm. Waller, D. "Art Therapy for Children: How It Leads to Change." Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry 11, no. 2 (April 2006): 271-82. Wetherell, Julie Loebach. "Clinical Research: Complica ted Grief Therapy as a New Treatment Approach." Dialogues in Clinical Neouroscience 14, no. 2 (June 2012): 159-66. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3384444/.