2018 - Ongoing
Mental illness is, for many, a difficult topic to talk about. This unwillingness comes not only from the discomfort and stigma attached to poor mental health but also the inability to communicate what is wrong. It was this inadequacy which led me to collaborate with individuals who have been diagnosed with mental illness, to realise visual representations of their experiences. Choosing individuals who are undergoing proper medical care, I attempted to transcribe their unique experiences of poor mental health.
This particular series represents Generalised Anxiety Disorder as experienced by Jessica*. GAD is a long-term condition that causes the sufferer to feel anxious about a wide range of situations and issues, rather than one specific event. Jessica's symptoms can often be dismissed by people who are unaware of her diagnosis as simply being 'ridiculous' due to the nature of the causes of her anxiety. She told me, “By telling people I have anxiety … it’s like a, ‘this is why I am that way’, don’t be thinking... I’m a weirdo or crazy … But then obviously that brings … other anxieties because I then worry that I’m gonna make … people … worry around me, that people are gonna be worried about what they say to me, which I always say, just don’t, ‘cos there’s just no point, cos it can literally be anything (that causes the anxiety).”
Combining my penchant for fairytales and narrative tableaux, I used traditional analog photography, shooting on a 5x4 camera using orthochromatic film, to create this work. I then went on to hand colour the images with traditional photographic dyes.
*Not their real name.
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