Patrick Heagney won 2nd place in Conceptual/Altered in APA’s prestigious Awards contest. We asked Patrick to tell us about the winning image, Burnt, from his Paper Thin series.

This piece is part of a series inspired by the philosophical idea of Constructivism, a branch of philosophy that states that all knowledge and meaning is “constructed” in the sense that it arises from human perception and social experience. The only reality we can know is that which is represented by human thought—specifically, our own thoughts. Each of us actively creates our own reality by analyzing our observations and experiences and then arranging the information to fit into our worldview.

This body of work illustrates the emotional worlds the characters have constructed for themselves. Here, they have all encountered, or are in the process of encountering, new information that does not fit into, and in some cases has shattered, their worldview. These revelations force them to reassess what is and isn’t “real.” It could be finding out that someone trusted has been deceiving them, or that a hero has been exposed as flawed and corrupt. On the positive side it could be the realization that a dream they thought was completely unattainable is actually within reach or something that has terrified them has revealed itself to be just a paper tiger.

Originally from Virginia, Patrick Heagney is a commercial and editorial photographer living and working in Atlanta, Georgia. Clients include Bristol-Myers Squib, Mitsubishi Electric, the Royal Bank of Scotland, and Verizon. When he’s not busy with assignments, he pursues fine art projects. His art is represented by Kai Lin Art Gallery in Atlanta. In between all that, he loves to spend his time traveling, relaxing with a cold beverage, and playing banjo—mostly because he thinks it’s funny.