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Rebecca Storm
Photography Rebecca Storm

How one artist with synesthesia sees the world

Inspired by ASMR videos, these sensory overload inducing images teach us that it’s ok to be gross

“I could just be hyper-neurotic and hypersensitive”, says Rebecca Storm, a Montreal-based photographer affected by a condition called synesthesia. “Technically it's not yet an official condition, but I'm mostly familiar with associative synesthesia, where you react to one stimulus with a sensory pathway that's typically affected by different stimuli. Like hearing colour or feeling physical pain from a sound.”

After first picking up a camera at Bible Camp, the now 28-year-old photographer found herself attracted to subject matter slightly less orthodox as her photographic skills developed. Interested in conveying how her condition manifests itself in her day to day life, Storm started channelling her interest in ASMR and penchant for the grotesque to portray her own sensory condition.

“I like working with visceral, garish colours and textures because they simultaneously repulse and intrigue, a phenomenon that operates in the same way as synaesthesia – a confusion of the senses. Some of the most disgusting textures and substances can actually be quite decadent and beautiful,” she says.

Attributing a short break she took from photography to the fact that it began to make her unhappy, Storm eventually returned to documenting the grotesque world surrounding her by realising, “it wasn't the photography, but social media in general that was causing me some stress.” After reevaluating whether partaking in social media was integral to her creative practice, she discovered that she enjoys taking photos regardless of how many people see or like them.

“I hope that my photos encourage young women to be less shy about all that is gross. There's so much goo and slime in the world, the human body produces a lot of it and it's fascinating that it all has a purpose. In terms of documenting it, my photography barely scratches the surface, but I hope to get there one day.”

Check out more of Rebecca Storm's work here