Broken - A Life of Challenges & Change

History of Broken –

I began creating “Broken” to represent the challenges of my life that have “broken” me along the way. The self-portrait portion of the piece was taken in April 2k16 and “The Elements” were created between November 2k16 through January 2k17.

I wanted this to be a very personal self-portrait. Many times, I would begin working on “The Elements” and then put it down because the memories it invoked during the process were often painful.

The piece took four computers to make due to technical difficulties. It endured a Mac Book Pro, a Surface Book, and two Surface Pro 4’s before it was finished. I almost lost the images and elements twice during the transitions of the computers. There were many times during the process I thought the image was not meant to be made. Every time the images were at risk, it made me more adamant to make it.

I usually don’t go through the history of my pieces, but knowing how difficult it was to create this under my current unusual circumstances, I found it important to document it for myself and those who had an interest in it. I was once told by a very famous media mogul that no one tells your story better than “you”. “In your life, tell your story.” Thank you KRM for your sound advice.

The portrait began like my others; however, in the process of creating it, on October 16, 2k16, I suffered an accident which broke my right hand.  The result was creating 95% of this with my left hand. Below are portraits taken by my daughter, Gabrielle Lopez whist in the Emergency Room at White Plains Hospital, New York.

"IV & Medical Supplies" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

"IV & Medical Supplies" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

"Iodine Bath" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

"Iodine Bath" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

"Broken Hand - A First Look" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

"Broken Hand - A First Look" - Foto by Gabrielle Lopez

The Elements -

“The Stitches & Pins” –

Above my head are the “Stitches and Pins” that are currently holding me together in so many ways. This is my injured right hand a week post-surgery.

Stitches & Pins

Stitches & Pins

“The Broken Heart” –

Like many, my heart has been broken over time. I’ve learned that happiness is from within and companionship has a different meaning in my life.

Heart Break & Other Things

Heart Break & Other Things

“The Column” -

I began to think of one of my favorite artists, Frida Kahlo, who, like me, battled with back problems. As an homage to her, I wanted a column to be an integral part of this foto.

In a prior life, I was a professional figure skater, who, like most, trained and taught long hours. The result of my career affected my spine and in 1999, the State of New York declared me “Permanently Partially Disabled”.

“The Broken Hand” –

Within the Column of the foto, lies “The Broken Hand”. On October 16, 2k16, my life changed drastically when my right dominate hand was caught between a side-view mirror of a friend’s car and a garage door. The result was a mangled & “degloved” hand with dislocated knuckles, multiple fractures and a host of mobility/use problems.

As a result of the injury, this piece was 95% created by my left hand. Other elements of the foto include the blood splatter, whose color I matched from a foto I took of the towel I used before getting into the ambulance.

The Column & Broken Hand - X Ray of hand with two Surgical Pins still in place

The Column & Broken Hand - X Ray of hand with two Surgical Pins still in place

“The Sixth Finger” –

Within my right hand, you’ll notice I have an additional finger. It represents the healed finger that I will have in the future with my life back.

The Sixth Finger

The Sixth Finger

 “The Pins & Bruises”–

The “Pins & Bruises” represent the pain I’ve endured physically, emotionally and spiritually throughout my life. The “pins” on my face represent the decisions I’ve made throughout my life. You’ll notice they are much bigger than the others and tears accompany them.

“The Vest” –

“The Vest” is reminder of my childhood and the “restraints” that came with it. As a Latina growing up in 1970’s New York, restraints were abundant. From poverty, racism, child-abuse, lack of resources in education and work, I learned the vest can be removed and problems can be resolved through a myriad of ways. It requires strategy, calm, energy, patience, education and faith in yourself to persevere.

 “The Stone Skirt” –

“The Stone Skirt” represents where woman stood in society in Corporate America. My first job out of college, women were forbidden to wear pants and were subject to termination if they were not properly dressed. You’ll notice the skirt swirls off at the end and fades away as did the rules of dress codes in the 1980’s.

“The Sugar Cane Field” –

“The Sugar Cane Field” represents my challenge living with Type II Diabetes. I took the foto within the Domino Sugar Cane Fields, Lake Okeechobee, Florida, circa 2k13.

“The Dissolved Bars” –

The “Dissolved Bars” represents a period of my life I call the “Voldemort Years”. It was a time filled with death, loss, change and family incarceration. To date, it’s still too painful to speak of. Placing the bars at the last minute was a painful and risky choice, but nonetheless, a part of my life that shaped and changed me.

Challenges Accepted –

I’ve accepted many challenges in my life, and with “silent pride”, I have overcome them. From Heart Ache to Back Ache I’ve healed from the painful “Pins and Bruises” that once formed me.

Since the accident, I’ve sold all of my Canon cameras & equipment because I can no longer hold them. I’ve acquired a lighter camera, an Olympus Pen F, in hopes of returning to the life of a creative fotographer and living life differently.

“Challenge Accepted”