Entry Title: "Surface Tension"
Mike Kear
, United Kingdom
Category and Expertise: Photography, Professional

Entry Description:

There are estimated to be between 300 and 400 suicides and para-suicides on the tidal part of the Thames each year. Most of these are from Londons bridges and in 2012 the London Coast Guard reported 383 incidents. Very few suicides on the Thames are brought to our attention by the media. According to the Office of National Statistics in 2011 suicide was the leading cause of death in 5-34 year olds. Incidents from Londons Thames bridges have more than doubled between 2007 and 2012. On average there is now more than one incident a day on the Thames bridges.

Most of us have looked over the edge of a bridge, down into the water. It maybe whilst watching to see whose stick is the winner whilst playing Poohsticks or enjoying the playfulness of the water. Or it might be more contemplative, watching the allure of the water, possibly even imagining what it might be like to jump with no intention of actually doing so. A less common thought, though, is that of the person who is looking down into the water as they decide to jump to end their life.

This series of images hopes to enable an emotional engagement with a very personal and intense issue - the issue of a person feeling their only option is to take their own life. The images are an abstraction. They place the viewer in the position of a person in despair. Might it be that the person in despair is actually very similar to you and me?

The images are made from the bridges over the Thames, close to suicide and parasuicide sites. Looking down onto the water they show the viewpoint of someone contemplating their next step. If they should decide to jump then this will be where they enter the water, where their skin meets the rivers. The images hope to show that moment of tension, of contemplation, reflection on lifes struggles, of the impending freedom...

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