My work tends to be full of detail with riotous colour. Colour almost controls me. To change this is a challenge. Inspired by other works of art recently viewed I’ve tried to simplify my image to give a more delicate, almost naive touch. It all began with about ten different pictures eliminated, one by one, down to just two base images. The index Chest X-ray is a 16 year old girl with paraplegia due to a road traffic accident (I don’t know why this X-ray was in the museum, because I can’t detect an abnormality. There was no explanation with it). It was overlaid with a single picture of clear blue sky. I decided to limit colours to just brown and blue representing sky and earth. The Edge Detect tool produced a sort of sepia coloured drawing of the X-ray. The sky was segmented into three layers using the Wand, and blended using the Difference tool. I also used Curves to tweak the density of colour a little.
And that was it, all bar the explanation.
One evening about 1978 as stand-in doctor for a Speedway event in Oxford, UK an accident occurred. A motorbike bucked on the uneven track surface and the young rider was catapulted into the periphery fence. We carried him from the track to the first aid room and assessed him whilst awaiting an ambulance. He had been rendered instantly paraplegic. Later at the hospital (before CT scans were generally available) we examined his spine with X-rays. He’d split a vertebra in two (a Chance fracture) cutting right through the spinal cord. He was aged 21. At the time I did not follow him further and have no idea how he went.
Spinal cord injury is a devastating condition causing much cost, both personal, and to society in general. No direct treatment exists. These days rehabilitation is incredibly good. Had that event occurred now, although his life would change significantly he could conceivably go on to lead a fruitful and fulfilling life. Stem-cell therapy looks promising with several potential strategies for treatment and repair of damaged tissue for people with spinal cord injuries – we dream of a full cure, perhaps the sky is the limit!