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Caitlin, Swansea

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Alice and her Sisters, North London

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Cecilie and I, Copenhagen

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Klinik Mehlsen, Frederiksberg

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Izzy and her Mum, Nottinghamshire

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Ellie and Caitlin, at Ellie's home in Birmingham

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'Mrs Ryalls Please Take A Seat' - a performance

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Johanne and I, Copenhagen 

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Marika's home, Copenhagen

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Tiffany at home in Hull

The women here, myself included, are part of a community interlinked by a disbelief regarding our condition as a result of the HPV vaccine. 


These Ties That Continue to Bind is an ongoing research project, collaborating with academics, healthcare professionals and a community of patients. The project started in 2018 when I travelled to Denmark to photograph a community of teenage girls and young women who were subjected to a roller-coaster of media storms following the controversy surrounding the HPV vaccination. Working with anthropology PHD researcher, Stine Hauberg Nielsen and Dr Jesper Mehlsen who was granted government funding to investigate the suspected side effects, I travelled to meet and photograph a handful of the girls. Following a documentary that aired in 2015, the girls were well supported by the media, the Danish healthcare system and the government. However, as the media interest waned this support dried up and the girls were gradually dismissed, disparaged and in some cased verbally abused. This became a clear example of how healthcare politics is so easily influenced by media trends – particularly in the case of adverse reactions to vaccinations. The reactions were continuing to be reported and now the HPV vaccine accounts for more than 60% of all adverse reactions and majority of the girls are continued to be disbelieved. 


In 2017 the HSE boss Tony O'Brien publicly called the girls and their families 'emotional terrorists'.


Since visiting Denmark, the project has covered ground In the U.K and Wales and the project will continue to grow, developing politically and geographically.


Despite stating that we believe in the good vaccinations can do, in our current social and political climate anyone who questions a vaccination are deemed part of the ‘anti-vaxx’ movement, which is said to be one of the biggest threats to our society. Demonstrating the lengths of people's political views, all of the young women photographed share a story of how their voiced concerns lead to a lesser standard of care, mental health misdiagnosis and in many cases abuse from professionals and the media. The project juggles the 'anti-vaxx' stereotype, alongside the ‘mad woman in the attic’ ideology, an ideology which has haunted women’s healthcare for decades – featuring as the groundwork for some of our classic literature such as Jane Eyre and The Yellow Wallpaper.


The HPV vaccine was introduced in 2007 and now accounts for more than 60% of all reported adverse reactions - It is the second most profitable vaccination in the world. In 2013 the Japanese government withdrew its recommendation to use the vaccine and in 2015 Denmark filed a report with the EMA, as well as gaining government funding to set up regional centres which address the adverse reactions that girls were facing.


The project has many layers, all married within the photo book ‘These Ties That Continue to Bind’. Bringing together a collection of photography, performance and documentation - visualising a geographically disjointed and often misrepresented group of females.

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