A photographer who regularly and excessively experimented with LSD to the point of psychosis shot a photo series that reflects the alternative reality she felt.
Finnish photographer Sari Soininen believed that she was communicating with God who told her to take more LSD.
Soininen says that the experiences in her early 20s “profoundly changed” her, but she has reflected upon them in a photo series published as a book called Transcendent Country of the Mind.
Now 31, Soininen’s ethereal photos explore colors and shapes with supernatural themes touching upon religion and creation. Animals appear knowing, plants seem threatening, and people manifest vulnerability.
The book opens with: “The sky started to change slowly, I could see and sense his rage from the movements of the clouds which started to get darker and darker. It felt like I had stepped into the Book of Revelation.”
God and religion became a theme of Soininen’s experiments with the hallucinatory drug.
“He told me I should take more LSD in order to become connected to this revealed world where everything was connected,” she tells The Guardian.
“So I took it regularly for about three months. At one point I was convinced I was going to give birth to a new baby Jesus. It turned really dark when the devil appeared.”
In one of the more shocking stories from Soininen’s first-hand testimony of being deep in the throws of LSD, she describes an insane car journey with her boyfriend which led to a crash and subsequent arrest.
The manic passage describes how she was searching for other dimensions when she became convinced she was about to enter a “new world.”
Soininen writes: “Peacefully I closed my eyes whilst driving. It felt like flying. I guess it took a few seconds, or a few years until the car was smashed in the ditch.”
Mercifully, Soininen’s acid usage began to end when she walked into a hospital and told a nurse that “she looked like the devil.”
“They could see I was in a bad way and they gave me medication for a week and all the madness started to melt away,” she tells The Guardian.
Soininen had given up her photography studies as a result of her drug use, but after rebuilding her life she completed a course at the University of West England in Bristol. Her project, Transcendent Country of the Mind, reflects her experiences and proved to be therapeutic.
Transcendent Country of the Mind is published by Eriskay Connection and can be purchased here.
Image credits: All photos by Sari Soininen.