Postpartum depression, or PPD, is a type of depression that occurs after childbirth. Although common, it can be debilitating—something that Romanian photographer Felicia Simion experienced firsthand. She felt disconnected from nature and, thus, didn’t feel like herself. Being a creative person, she used her camera to forge those bonds yet again.
Simion’s photographic project titled Rewired is informed by what she experienced when having severe PPD. “I began to seek relief in people and the urban, plunging myself into the realm of the rushed streets, coffee shops, and never-ending amounts of work,” she writes. Whenever she left the city to go to the country, she didn’t feel the peace or joy she once did. So, Simion decided to get away—really get away—by venturing to Iceland.
In Iceland, Rewired came alive. Simion wrapped herself in yarn to physically connect with the landscape. Blue and red thread, for instance, is wrapped around her arms and legs along with large rocks. Yellow string trails on the ground; Simion and the rugged terrain are one.
“Throughout my journey, I experienced 70km/h winds, negative temperatures, and the stares of the tourist crowds who would often stop and take pictures of me,” she recalls. “I stood before craters, waterfalls, and the ocean, and never was I afraid. I felt life pouring through my veins, into my brains, as if someone—or something—was plugging me back to my spirit.”
We spoke with Simion about Rewired, including why she chose Iceland. Scroll down for My Modern Met’s exclusive interview.
Romanian photographer Felicia Simion suffered from severe postpartum depression. To find herself again, she traveled to Iceland for a series titled Rewired.
How would you describe your work to someone who has never seen it before?
Eclectic. Real and surreal at the same time.
Tell us about your project Rewired. What was the inspiration for it?
Rewired began as a quest to rediscover my own relationship with Nature, after being deprived of it due to a harsh postpartum depression. Deep inside I wanted to create something raw, to put myself in not-so-comfortable situations, to look at myself from a different perspective. I wanted both the calm and the anger of Nature. I wanted to experience being one with Nature, as close as possible. So that's why I decided to literally tie myself to it, in an effort to re-establish a lost connection.
You ventured to Iceland for the series. What about the country spoke to you?
Everything about Iceland spoke to me—the landscape, the remoteness, the harshness of Nature, the Arctic Ocean, everything. I had dreamt about visiting Iceland since I was a teenager and I began experimenting with photography. I think the Icelandic realm is unique and otherworldly. In terms of nature, I think I have an “extraplanetary syndrome.” I get easily intrigued by peculiar places, places one couldn't tell where they belong to. And Iceland is definitely the right land for it.
What is the symbolism of the yarn in your work, particularly as it interacts with your body as well as the landscape?
To put it simply, the yarn—a natural fabric—is what (re)makes my bond with Nature and takes me back to my roots. It is what both encloses and liberates.
How did you feel after completing Rewired? What do you hope that viewers feel from the series?
I honestly felt rewired. I felt that my need for Nature and art had been satisfied. I hope the viewers will immerse themselves into the landscapes of Iceland and resonate with the emotion that I poured while being there; it was not easy facing negative temperatures and the stares of tourist crowds. But still, for a moment, I was alone with the rocks, the icebergs, the moss and the black sand and that made me feel completely alive.
What's on the horizon for you? Anything exciting you're working on?
My next project will be a small documentary series of portraits that will focus on environmental issues inside a Southern Romanian village. I can't tell you more right now, but stay close!