Every year, Scribendi’s editors bestow two award to published pieces in the categories of art and literature. This year, the editors chose Krista Zimmerman’s photograph The Ties that Bind Us for the Editors’ Choice Art Award. Scribendi reached out to Krista to find out more about this haunting, tense photograph.

The Ties that Bind Us was shot in 35mm film, with Krista serving as both the photographer and model. Krista described the process of shooting this piece as difficult because it involved her moving between the camera and her desired position within the frame. She had to set the camera to delayed shutter release, press the shutter, and quickly get back into position before the photograph was taken. Despite the difficulty of this process, Krista said it made the image more personal, because as the model she was able to accurately convey the message of the photograph without having to explain it to someone else.

This photograph was inspired by the drive to interpret mental states in a physical way, which can be clearly seen in the yarn constricting the model and the pull of her toes and limbs against the tension of the yarn. “This particular image represents the way anxiety can paralyze people, preventing them from moving forward and tripping them up even as these mental bindings look so trivial and inconsequential to an outside viewer,” said Krista about the meaning of her piece. Although she draws heavily on personal experience to create her art, she also supplements those ideas by researching other artists who are working in a similar way or with similar themes.

Even though Krista works in a variety of mediums, she said that using film photography for this particular piece presented a variety of challenges. One of them was the difficulty of expressing abstract concepts through photography rather than painting, which she usually works in when talking about surrealistic forms and abstraction. Krista described another difficulty of film photography as the “element of chance.” When developing photography, there are many things that can go wrong, but the care, planning and appreciation of a finished image shot with film were things that she was able to carry over into digital photography.

The Ties that Bind Us is a beautiful, atmospheric image that required careful thought and planning by the artist, and the concepts she was working with and her hard work definitely come through in the finished piece. Scribendi is honored to showcase this piece in our 2016 edition, and we highly encourage you to give it a look.