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‘Sheila Blood and Other Stories’ is a collaborative photo story created in 2018 by Oscar Vinter and  Charlie Fitz. It came about as a by-product of working through feelings of powerlessness in the face of ableism. The photo story explores the absurdity of life and injustice at the intersections of race, gender and disability.

A figure bathed in red light and shadow stands in the centre frame, only their upper body is in frame. Their face is obscured in shadow, only the slight form of the ridge of their nose, their forehead and hat are discernible. They wear a long jumper. The photo has a red border.

If only I were heliotropic

‘This photograph is named after a poem of mine of the same name. Heliotropism is the tendency of living things to grow towards the sun. I have Seasonal Affective Disorder, but usually a person with SAD suffers with depression in winter, I am affected in summer. Charlie’s illnesses cause her to be heat intolerant and sensitive to light. We are both most content in the long dark evenings of winter.’  

After Helios 

‘Charlie and I are both often told by well-meaning family and friends that a nice walk on a summers day will brighten our spirits. We never cease to enjoy the irony in this.

Landscape orientation, centre frame is an abstract haze of orange, purple, blue and green and black smoke. On the left hand side of the frame there is a red light leak. Running horizontally through the centre of the photo is a black developing mark. The photo has a black border.
Centre frame are three partially obscured reproductions of a snippet of the same photograph overlayed over the next. The upper face of a young white woman with dark eyes and brown hair and the bridge of her nose. The photo has a thick black border.

  I am now going to close it

‘Trying to access health care has uncanny parallels to navigating public spaces with a wheelchair. We spend a lot of time trying to find accessible entrances and come across a lot of literal dead ends, locked doors, dark alleys...

... Despite remaining ferocious in our pursuit of answers, diagnosis and treatment for Charlie, we would both hesitate to call it a journey, sometimes it feels more like a perpetual drift quite frequently without reward - Kafkaesque, being scurried from one doctor to another and back again. Absurdity at every turn. “We think neurology should really take the lead” says the Rheumatologist. “Well, we have to wait for what Rheumatology decides” says the Neurologist. But all I can hear is Kafka again and again; “Here no one else can gain entry, since this entrance was assigned only to you. I’m going now to close it.”’

Centre frame is the face of a "white" young woman surrounded by foamy water. On her left cheek she has a mole. The photo has been inverted so the water is a rich dark pink and the woman's face is blue with the corners of her eyes' red.

Magnesium Bubbles

‘My photographs attempt to dissect the silent screams of certain encounters we have in the healthcare system and wider lives. Photography is part of a wider network of coping mechanisms mainly rooted in art. It helps me like magnesium baths help Charlie.’

A young mixed man is centre frame upside down, only his bare shoulders and above in frame. The entire frame is blue and white paint is on his face. His eyes are open and stare directly into the camera. Faint lines run horizontal across the frame. 

‘These photos are not documents of reality but necessities, they help me cope.’

To burn blue, once more with you 

An inverted photograph showing three escalators side on ascending diagonally from right to left. The escalators are a shiny dark blue chrome and each has a fluorescent blue light stripe that runs the entirety of their length. On the upper right area of the frame there is a glass ceiling which is a pastel orange. The building is taken from the perspective of looking upwards towards the ceiling of the building.

‘I often see Charlie’s body mapped out in architecture and other objects – her body parts and medical conditions writ large throughout the city - a spinal cord reaching upwards illuminated in neon blue or her herniated brain glimpsed at through the cracked bricks of the town hall. It’s like that moment after being told a secret, the world can never look the same again.’ 

Honey, it's my hindbrain

Sheila Blood 

‘The photo ‘Shelia Blood’ is a quasi portrait. The name has become a sort of moniker for Charlie. Last year whilst in a hospital waiting area a nurse shouted, “Shelia Blood?! Shelia Blood?!” every ten minutes for 2 hours without an answer. Each time she repeated the call it sounded more surreal and Charlie and I found it a little more difficult to contain our laughter. As the nurse continued unanswered, we had become the spectacle of the waiting room. I see these moments when we find the comedy in the absurd as cathartic.’   

Centre frame is a woman with hands on her face pulling down the skin on her cheeks under her eyes. Her mouth is open and her eyes delirious. She has short dark hair and wears a long sleeved white top.  As the photo is shot in blue duo-chrome her skin and hair are light blue as well as the general hue of the photograph.
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