Drugged Self-Portraits — Through an Illicit Lens Bryan Lewis Saunders finds Fear and Loathing

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Sometimes the suffering we go through for the sake of Art is completely self-induced.

Take Bryan Lewis Saunders, for example. The D.C.-based artist recently released a series of self-portraits each drawn through the lens of a different drug. The series — appropriately titled “Drugs” — includes 48 self portraits composed while Saunders was on everything from Crystalmeth and cocaine to DMT and Bath Salts. The experiment — which had Saunders taking a different drug everyday — left him “lethargic” and with “mild brain damage.” [Browse through a sample of Saunders’s work in the gallery above.]

And I thought leaning out of a helicopter was sort of on the edge.

Incredibly, Saunders claims that the experiment is on-going and that he plans to allow more time in between each session.

Sounds like a smart idea.

While this kind of over-the-edge mining for creativity may pay off for the painter, I have serious doubts that it could produce the same results for the photographer. Sadly (or fortunately, depending on how you factor mild brain damage into your risk/reward equation) the camera lens tends to act as a pretty strong filter for mind altering substances.

Or so I’ve been told.

Let it go on record that I am not advocating any of you to go out and repeat this journey for the sake of Photography. [But if you do, please send along the results.]

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