Within a relatively short period of time it seemed that everyone I love and value most became seriously ill.
My best friend was increasingly sick for six months before finally discovering she had heart failure at 33. Her mother, who is the closest thing I've had to a mother myself the past 15 years, was diagnosed with breast cancer, and my two furry kids, whom I'd had for 12 and 15 years, were nearing the end of their lives, one also with heart failure, the other with kidney failure. three of those diagnoses happened within something like a month.
Here I am, healthy, but facing the mortality of nearly all of my core family group at once.
At the time I was thinking a lot about how I wouldn't really be me anymore if they were all gone, while simultaneously struggling with being ok while everyone around me was not.
I've used photography, mainly self-portraits, as a way of dealing with things for as long as I've been shooting, and this was no different. Kind of how some people can better organize a thought or feeling by putting it all down on paper, I do the same with self-portraits, often not fully understanding everything I'm dealing with until
I can literally see in front of me how my mind has led me to process it. It's sometimes helpful, sometimes disturbing, almost always a bit of relief, like a demon has been exorcised.
"I Think That I'm Still Here" shows me that mix of trying to mark and anchor a person whose world is changing and, bit by bit, disappearing. It wasn’t shot that long ago, so it’s all still pretty fresh, making it an image that I simultaneously love and have a hard time looking at. For the most part they are all thankfully still around, but also still dealing with their illnesses, save for my dog who I lost about a week after.
— Caryn Drexl
I Think that I'm Still Here
Caryn Drexl is a self-taught photographer based in North Carolina.
She creates figurative tableaux with a strong sense of allegory and
narrative, often as self-portraits.