“Light. Shade. Colour. Line. Shape. And love.”
Naomi Woddis has been very open about how the power of photography has “transformed her experience of living with Lyme Disease.”
Woddis is a writer, photographer and workshop facilitator and specialises in portraiture and documentary photography. When Woddis contracted Lyme Disease she was in her 30’s, and along with the Lyme Disease she experienced short term memory loss, making reading and writing difficult for her. Photography was her way of expressing her creativity without having to do the two things she could now not do, as her visual communication skills had now increased. This visual communication which had now replaced her written communication skills had saved her life, and in her own words; “pure stubbornness has kept me going, that and the prevailing idea that everything is worthy of the camera lens.”
Her most recent, and biggest, project is named “The View from Here”, which is basically her view from her bed as she has been too ill to get up and take images elsewhere.
The project has now expanded to the tiny flat Woddis and her mother shares, and says a lot about their relationship also. Their relationship has it’s good times and bad times, much like her Lyme Disease. However, she has learnt to see the beauty in both the good and bad times, and has likened them to seasons; “winter reveals the skeletal beauty of a tree without leaves. This stripping down has allowed me to see the essence of my work. And that has been invaluable. Light. Shade. Colour. Line. Shape. And love.”
Naomi has also done a project based on self portraiture. In 2013, she worked alongside Vivienne McMaster, who taught her that self portraiture can help us look at ourselves with love and lessen the hold of self-criticism. Due to her illness, as said previously, Woddis spent a lot of her time in her bed, so this self portraiture project provided her with an exploration tool during this illness. It also allowed her to no longer feel trapped in her body, and gave her a sense of confidence, both being in front of and behind the camera.
Naomi Woddis works with both digital and film mediums, and along with providing her images for online publicity she offers bespoke prints.
Woddis also runs workshops, and has done so in places such as the British Library, the Barbican, the Southbank Centre and many schools around the country. She also specialises in developing innovative practice within collaborative and community arts, including the use of social media as a platform for art.