50 ways to leave your body
Benjy Russell. 2008
This series was based on an experience I had with astral projection. It’s only happened to me one time (actually twice, but both times were in the same night). I had spent all day at these beautiful hot springs in the desert in southern California with my boyfriend at the time and several of his friends from out of state. It was a gorgeous remote location, and I remember the pools being very hot and seriously intoxicating.
When we got home that night I drifted off to sleep, and when I woke up I “looked” around me. I was floating in the middle of the room and there was this white marshmallow-y ring floating/encircling me horizontally. The substance looked exactly like the ectoplasm in photos from the turn of the century spiritualist photography. Somehow I started to rise up towards the ceiling (I wasn’t in control of any of it), then I effortlessly went through the ceiling. As I passed through the ceiling I could see all of the layers of the roof (metal, wood, and tar); then I busted through the roof and I could see all of the pipes coming out of the rooftop and downtown Los Angeles in the distance. Just as I was taking it all in I snapped back into my body and laid there for about 20 minutes paralyzed, yet conscious.
When I got back to sleep it happened again, only I didn’t get through the ceiling before it snapped me back into my body.
About a month later I made this series, 50 ways to leave your body for MEAN Magazine. The series of photos were made using silhouette cutouts, filters, long exposures, christmas lights, transparencies, and projections. All of the effects were done in camera without using photoshop.
Here’s a link to how the shots were setup
And here are a couple of other alternate shots that didn’t get used