Heart Over Head, Photographic Body of Work 2015

This body of work was created as my Independent Project in my Photographing Light course at Truman...but quickly became much more than just an assignment. Like I usually do with my fine arts courses, I used this as an opportunity to explore my soul and gain a better understanding of myself and the universe - and ultimately created an extension of my printmaking body of work, Live Fearlessly. I found myself being compelled daily to make images and fell in love with this new outlet for visual self-expression. This body of work and the moments captured in its images are invaluable to me.

Artist Statement

The wounds carved into my psyche by anxiety had become so deep that I identified with them; I did not know myself without them. After 21 long years of fear spurred from the ridicule of my own ruthless mind, I discovered a way to help protect myself from its wrath, a way to strengthen my heart for the battle with my head: self compassion, a practice that I am slowly coming to understand. 

I learn through experiencing myself, steadily becoming attuned to my being’s natural rhythm and coming back to center, back to earth. The practice demands emotional, mental, and physical strength – but provides understanding and control in return. 

This series of images was a practice of understanding in itself, recording the stillness in the energy created throughout my observance and acceptance of my mind and self. 



Convey to other people (particularly those who may share this struggle) the ways in which I attain peace and inspire them to work towards their own self understanding and compassion.

Poem Meaning

The poem uses descriptive language and imagery in the first two stanzas describing the author hugging themselves in an act of self compassion, love and understanding. It goes on to state that no one knows them better than themselves, and implies that they have the ability to right their own world. The last stanza represents the separation between the self and the soul, the emotions from the awareness, and the desire to conquer the distinction. It also gives the method in which to do this: through stillness.

How the Work is Meant to be Viewed


As our soul resides in these bodies, our consciousness is consistently threatened by our autonomic system’s response to fear. When a body perceives a threat, its mind is overtaken by only one idea: survival. Since we as humans have long evolved into intellectual beings with most of their physical needs comfortably tended to, we aren’t always able to identify when this response is being triggered within ourselves. Consequently, we don’t give it the attention it needs, causing tension to build within ourselves and disrupting our relationship with our true self and potential. Our limbic system, the primitive part of our brain that controls the “fight or flight” reaction, takes control and drags the mind through relentless thought, keeping us from purely experiencing the now. Read more on the blog