Stroke of Emotions

Stroke of Emotions is a series of composited self portraits that I created after my husband had a major stroke in 2017. In an effort to deal with my worry and feelings of helplessness, I turned to my hobby of photography. I used my photographic library to help define and illustrate my feelings. From devastation through rejuvenation, it is a story of a healing journey that I hope will help others going through a difficult time.

No matter who we are, we all face life challenges. No matter what crisis we face, we all struggle with a range of feelings.

Stroke of Emotions series by Sara Harley 

Five of the images from Stroke of Emotions were selected for the Picturing Health exhibit at Viewpoint Gallery in Halifax, Nova Scotia, for the month of February 2018. The exhibit used photographic imagery to explore the relationship between wellness and creativity, and was funded by the Robert Pope Foundation.
Sara Harley's images at the Picturing Health exhibit, Viewpoint Gallery
Picturing Health exhibit, Viewpoint Gallery  February 2018
Six images from Stroke of Emotions were accepted for publication in 2018 Seeing in SIXES, published by LensWork. Fifty projects, each consisting of six images, were selected from more than 1500 submissions to be featured in this book.

2018 Seeing in SIXES
2018 Seeing in SIXES

Five images from this series
received Nominee recognition in the 2019 Fine Art Photography Awards (FAPA). There were 4100 entries from 87 countries around the world for these awards.


Sara Harley, FAPA Nominee, Conceptual Category, Amateur
Nominee, Conceptual Category, Amateur Division
Most recently, Stroke of Emotions was featured in the Spring 2020 issue of PhotoEd Magazine - Mental Health, Photography+Healing. An extended article was featured in the digital version of this magazine. You can view the complete digital magazine at this link.
PhotoEd Magazine, Spring 2020 - Mental Health, Photography+Healing


Feedback about this series from an audience member at an artist talk:


"You gave us a brave presentation of your recent life journey though the self-portraits that you displayed. The images were more expressive of feelings than words could ever be. I could see myself & my journey in the single self-images that you showed before you added to them. Every emotion that I felt was right there on the screen. Then when you added the additional layers to your single image I could travel through the feelings being expressed. Life changes are challenging to the very depth of our resilience. Your sharing of these sequences allowed me to know that other people have the same emotional travel that I have had."

The complete story of Stroke of Emotions is available in book format. To view the book online click on this link and then click on "preview".
Stroke of Emotions book by Sara Harley available through Blurb Books
Stroke of Emotions book by Sara Harley