Trapped Photography

A piece of wire symbolising a trapped hand


“Men are not prisoners of fate, but  prisoners of their own minds.”   Franklin D. Roosevelt

I love this quote by Roosevelt about feeling trapped. The first time I read it, I had one of those ” light bulb ” moments and it made me stop and reassess things. I realised that, for much of my life, I had been trapped in a cell of my own making. Trapped by a numbing fear of failure that made me question my abilities in so many different areas of life. Therefore, it’s no surprise that this fear affected me creatively. Whether posting images online, or presenting them at clubs and other venues, I seemed to be in a constant battle with my nerves! I still am, if I’m being honest.


The LIPF is an award offered by the Irish Photographic Federation.  It involves presenting  a panel of photographs to a group of judges and takes place in an auditorium full of fellow photographers. You can only imagine how torn I was about this. The cavewoman in me wanted to be brave and go for it.  The rest of me wanted to run and hide. I guess it ended up being a bit of both because, although I turned up on the day, I just couldn’t face staying for the judging. The familiar sick feeling of panic started to rise up and I bolted for the door. About half an hour later and two kilometres from the venue, I heard my phone buzzing. It was one of my friends calling me and it was great news, I had passed.  But my fear of failure had robbed me of the real joy of the moment and I had to experience it second hand.

The Photograph

With the  Roosevelt quote somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew that I wanted to portray the concept in an image. As luck would have it, I found the perfect scene in my own back garden on the fence. I noticed the way the wire was aligned and how it could symbolise a trapped hand searching for escape. So now it was time to get busy. That meant several hours of practice shots, until I was happy with the composition. Because the concept meant so much to me, I wanted to make sure that the processing would be sympathetic to the shot.  Therefore, I chose a black and white conversion because it would draw more attention to the symbolism of the image.


I remember being nervous posting this picture online, wondering if anyone would “get” it. A few weeks ago, while randomly searching on pinterest, I almost fainted when “Trapped” appeared in front of me on the screen. I know that it was only one picture out of millions, but it made my day. It was one of those days when I felt that my struggles with creativity were worth it.


You can see a bigger version of this image simply by clicking on it. If you like, you can also view it on my flickr page

Other photos:  Dream Hunter  Homeward Bound


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