The Image: Amani Willett, "Untitled"

© Amani Willett, Untitled

Amani Willett: This picture shows my mother a few days after having knee replacement surgery. Besides the obvious physical pain of the surgery, it was also an extremely difficult period for her emotionally, as her mother died while having the same procedure 15 years earlier. I remember my dad, brother and I assuring her that everything would turn of okay, even as a little irrational uncertainty gnawed at us in the back of our heads.

Looking at her knee, it was impossible for me to comprehend the amount of pain an incision that size must cause. I instead found myself observing the stitched area from a formal point of view - concentrating on the way it looked in the late-afternoon light and how the colors of the knee, floor and couch seemed to blend together.

Strangely enough, when fototazo contacted me and asked if I would write about this image, I had just had abdominal surgery. I find that I now relate to the image much more emotionally. If I were able to photograph the scene again, I might focus on trying to convey the intensity of pain involved in surgery. Who knows, maybe I would end up with a picture of her face in pain instead.

Either way, this knowledge serves as a wonderful reminder that I bring my own experiences and biases to everything I photograph and to remember to be aware of how these experiences shape the images I create.