Steve was recommended for the Associate Distinction of the Royal Photographic Society in September 2019. The RPS’s ARPS page describes in detail the criteria that has to met for this distinction.
To accompany his panel of 15 images he had to include a statement of intent with his entry.
Steve’s ARPS Panel
Statement of intent
An encounter with anxiety
Statistics show that more people are nervous of visiting the dentist than are nervous of heights.
Surveys have also shown that in the U.K. an astonishing 74% of all adults have had to have a tooth extracted and on average each adult has seven fillings. A quarter of adults admit they have not visited a dentist in the past two years. Despite massive improvements in dental practice in recent years a visit to the dentist still generates a level of fear in almost half of all U.K. adults. Feelings can vary from a mild unease, through to acute anxiety and even panic attacks.
My childhood experiences still influence the way I feel about visiting the dentist. The surgery can feel like an alien environment in which I have no control, I’m alone and vulnerable, except for its masked occupants. As I lay in the dentist’s chair, jaws wide open, I dread the intrusive metal instruments probing and scraping. Pain could be just a moment away whilst I am mocked by the perfect grinning teeth, locking me into my fears.
I know that my fears are irrational, but I am desperately aware that I will have to relive those childhood experiences again.
My aim for this panel is to show why I and many others suffer such great anxiety. The images evoke the sinister mood of my memories emphasizing the bright lights and dark atmosphere within the surgery. Where appropriate I have used low angles to psychologically increase the tension and unease generated by the perceived strength and power of the dentist and his assistant; I have employed a narrow depth of field to concentrate the viewer’s mind on the intrusive dental instruments, to see them as I do when I endure a visit to the dentist.