My New Brain

My New Brain

This collaborative portrait project by Jason Tilley and Jo Gane raises awareness through the visual stories of the lived experience of those with neurodiversity and stroke.

During the Covid lockdowns in 2020 -21, Coventry photographer Jason Tilley survived a series of strokes which led to vascular dementia and a change in cognitive functioning. This gave Jason a ‘New Brain.’

As a photographer, Jason conceived of this project as a way of understanding this change through a process of communication with others who have had similar experiences.

The photographs in this exhibition are the result of a lengthy process of interaction between the sitter, camera and the materials. Photographic portraits were made by artist Jo Gane using the archaic Wet Plate Collodion process from the 1850s and a large scale nineteenth century studio camera.

Jo produced fragile images onto large sheets of glass: a slow and difficult process which allowed for a gentle pace of photography. Long exposure times capture movement blur resulting in softer focus, confirmed by the shallow field of the nineteenth century lens. As we are seeing their physical response during the seconds of the exposure period, the sitters appear thoughtful - inviting you to reflect on their experience.

Chemical flow is often visible in the handling of the wet photographic materials. The delicate chemical balances of materials used in the photographic processes occasionally became unbalanced, resulting in fogging on the glass plates. 

This process allowed Jason to continue learning, developing ambitious new skills which build upon his lifetime career as a press photographer, printmaker and artist.

The project was made possible by funding support from Heart of England Community Foundation.