CNN Photos

Finding her footing after heartbreak

What does heartbreak look like?

At the end of a six-year relationship, photographer Laura Stevens needed to find a creative, external outlet for all the complicated feelings she was processing internally.

“It was surprising how different it was to be single in my late 30s and confront assumptions of what that might mean for a woman,” Stevens said. “I had considered myself independent and self-sufficient, but suddenly I understood how emotionally reliant and afraid of being alone I had become.”

“Another November” is the end product, a photo series that aims to mirror those agonizing emotions that Stevens felt at the time of the breakup — and the subsequent healing process.

“Utilizing difficult emotions and channeling them into something tangible and seeing them transformed into visual objects made them ultimately easier to understand,” she said.

Stevens cast and directed both female friends and strangers to enact the stages of the brokenhearted. She would approach women on the streets of Paris who she intuitively felt had the style, manner and sensitivity for the series. She would offer her card and, if there was interest, go into more detail.

Stevens said, in most cases, the women had similar stories and appreciated the opportunity to express their own individual feelings of love and loss.

The first half of the series portrays “desolation and hopelessness,” while the second half portrays reconstruction, according to Stevens. Sofia (Photo 9 here) is the turning point. The women that follow are in repair, from Sibylla once again daydreaming to Pauline rediscovering her passion for music.

The lighting also plays a principal role in setting the somber and cinematic mood of lost love.

But while heartbreak seems perpetual, Stevens says she wanted to show that life — as cliched as it sounds — does go on.

“I learned to dance, I meditated, I had therapy, made new friendships and danced some more,” she said.

And she’s still dancing.

- Sarah LeTrent, CNN