'This series is a tribute to anyone who has struggled for self-realization and self-fulfillment, with a wink and thanks to David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell To Earth.'
You have to believe it to see it was one of the taglines of director Nicolas Roeg's 1976 science fiction film, The Man Who Fell To Earth. . For those who struggle with anxiety a more fitting quote might be that You have to feel it to believe it. The fight, the battle, the war, isn't just with what is around us, but what is inside us. Those intense feelings of fear, rejection and inadequacy, the mental walls and barriers that sometimes pop up no matter where we turn.
'Over the past few months, I've been questioning and challenging anxiety, fear and alienation through my photography. I've discovered that through my art and the beauty and power of the male body, I can give expression to those emotional challenges that come from daily life, especially in a city like New York that is demanding and relentlessly challenging. Of course the urban struggle is always more than worth the work.'
One of the challenges many with anxiety face is the outside. Outside of safe walls, outside of their homes, outside of their comfort zone. Some days, work, errands and being in public is manageable, other days, the same tasks, sometimes something as simple as picking up dog food at the grocery store, can take tremendous energy and seem overwhelming and unmanageable.
During those times, days when a quick trip to the grocery store, can seem like a trip up Mount Everest, inner strength can be hard to tap into. During those times, we self talk, we sooth, and most of all we dream.
We dream how incredible it would be, to leave our safe space and accomplish our goals without having to face the judgement and interactions with other people. We long to not have deal with a chatty store clerk, empty streets and stores, and no lines at the check out counters to prevent us returning to our homes.
Of course, being in out in the world completely alone, especially in a city like New York, would be impossible. Yet, artist Richard Rothstein, and dancer Chris Bell, manage to do this, at least within this photographic vision. I love the dream like feel to seeing Chris, totally alone, the city his to maneuver through without obstacles, walls or judgement.
I love that when visually alone, with Manhattan all around him, a sense of power and control takes over. Chris transforms and transitions from someone who was initially reaching to the ground for safety, to a man reaching for the sky in celebration of his freedom from the obstacles, walls and fear that had weighed him down. Not just facing the Manhattan Monster, but winning the battle with a passionate naked dance in celebration of facing the fear.
I love the sense of freedom and joy in Christopher's dance, a feeling many of us feel when fears have been faced. As the night goes on, and daylight again approaches the question will be, what comes next? Will he remain naked, exposed and free when the sun rises and the streets once again are filled with humans, traffic, foes and fear? Or, will Chris redress, and again move closer to the earth the for shade, safety and security. This is the question faced daily by so so many as they face each and every new morning.
'When you face anxiety, fear, alienation and challenges, the pay-off can be sublime. Dancer, teacher and model Christopher Bell was able to express these challenges and triumphs through his body juxtaposed against the beautiful monster that is Manhattan. As Christopher falls to earth in front of my lens, I found catharsis and strength. This series is a tribute to anyone who has struggled for self-realization and self-fulfilment, with a wink and thanks to David Bowie’s The Man Who Fell To Earth.'
Christopher Bell on Instagram
Richard Rothstein NYC
Richard Rothstein on Instagram