Five photography series about heartbreak and breakups

Documenting regret, recovery and obsession.

[B]reakups are notoriously tough for everyone. Turning pain into art, however, proves for some to be a cathartic release – allowing emotions to be brought to the surface and confronted.

From the self-destructive and self-loathing behaviour that follows a painful split, to the melancholy of heartbreak, the obsessive questioning and doubting which leads to a self re-brand, the editing out of your ex (literally) and the final days of a relationship – here we look at five photography series born out of breakups that deal with moving on very differently.

Laura StevEns – Another November

Channeling her pain and suffering, photographer Laura Stevens embarked on a photography project staging women – some she knew, others she approached on the street – in sombre scenes that were illustrative of her loneliness as a newly single woman. Though capturing a number of different faces – smoking cigarettes, dining alone and lying face down on the bed – the series collectively was representative of one woman’s journey, dealing with her emotions post break up. In an interview with LensCulture, the photographer explained: “By constructing images of the evolving chapters of loss and renewal, I gave myself a vantage point from which to view the changes occurring in me. Beginning with the feelings of pain, confusion and loneliness, I eventually moved towards the reconstruction of my identity as an individual.”


De-Selfing – hsin wang

“What did I do wrong?”,“what could I have done differently?” – these were the questions that plagued photographer Hsin Wang following a major split six years ago. Believing her only hope to find love again was through shedding layers of her old self, the photographer chose to “de-self” to transform into a more likeable woman, which led to her therapeutic photography series De-Selfing. With faceless subjects – wrapped in clingfilm and intwined in a jumper together – shot in front of a dull grey backdrop, with props including smashed ice creams and eggs, her images capture the melancholy of heartbreak.



As an assignment for Upon Paper magazine, New York born and based photographer Jordan Tiberio spent two days photographing her friends – who had been in a relationship for a year – getting intimate in bed in the nude. The images captured the lovers interlocked in a series of black and white shots, in what turned out to be the final weeks of their relationship – which left a haunting undertone to the pictures.



A plate of pills and cigarettes to numb the pain, text messages which pine for an ex-lover and slowly morph into a ‘fuck you, this sucks’, and a shattered iPhone smashed up by a hammer – this is what to expect of your mental stability post breakup according to poet and artist Lora Mathis. For her ongoing photography series Ways I Hurt Myself To Hurt You, the young artist explores the destructive, self loathing habits that come with the heartbreak of a breakup.