“I was 14 the first time I self-harmed. I took a Swiss Army knife and slit open the top of my forearm in short diagonal cuts. I was searching for something in that moment—exhilaration, consciousness, proof I had the strength to withstand pain.”—Kristina Knipe
It is with a deep honesty and powerful frankness that New York-based photographer Kristina Knipe creates a complex narrative of self-harm in her series I Don’t Know The Names of Flowers. Returning to her hometown in Pennsylvania, Knipe collaborated with others who struggle with self-harm by contacting acquaintances and posting on NYC’s Craigslist in an attempt to find healing. Through the process each person was allowed to share their story; Knipe capturing not only the scars but the objects, places, and memories associated with their actions.
The images are set in a surreal and haunted suburbia, each frame instilled with an innocence somehow askew. We draw nearer to the uncomfortable evidence, desiring understanding through the transgressions of others. Describing scars as a history, Knipe offers a conceptual biography of a hidden practice permeated with both the pain and beauty of destruction.
Andrew in the Flowers.
Leannet’s Arm Healed.
Smashed Birthday Cake.
Fallen Tree, Broken Slide.
Nicholas at St. Vincent’s.
Leannet in the Rain.