Using Travel and Photography as Forms of Therapy
In an effort to confront the debilitating effects of his Bipolar Disorder, Harris Mizrahi adopts a state of perpetual movement in which he travels compulsively to random places both near and far to meet and photograph total strangers.
I began working on Inside Out as an excuse for escape. Battling Bipolar Disorder with its deep depression and seductive mania, I would drive as far as I could from home before tiring, much of the time with no intention of returning. Sometimes I might stay on the road for a week, sometimes a couple of months and other times I could travel hundreds of miles only to return right back home that same day. Emotional exhaustion, whether healthy or not, still proves to be an essential ingredient in the making of many of these photographs.
The trips were intended as a form of therapy, but instead, long periods of isolation and sleep deprivation only heightened the extremes of my disorder. Those feelings of lassitude and emotional despair trickle through the entirety of the project. I was looking for friendship as much as I was photographing. That intense vulnerability and want to be accepted allowed me to sympathise with and photograph the people I met with honesty, empathy and intimacy not typically awarded to strangers.
Although they may be created with honest intention, these photographs are not factual nor are they intended to be. They ride a line between fantasy and reality never quite falling to either side of that line. At times the work may appear to resemble documentary photography but it is important to remember that these photographs are as much a document of the photographer's manic depression as they are a document of the people they depict. The end result is a story of a place and people that do not truly exist outside of these photographs.
Words and Pictures by Harris Mizrahi.
Harris Mizrahi is a documentary photographer currently based in Brooklyn, New York. After completing a Bachelors of Science in Photography at Drexel University in Philadelphia, Harris moved back to his home city to focus on producing work that concentrates on themes of vulnerability and portraiture. Find him on PHmuseum and Instagram.
This feature is part of Story of the Week, a selection of relevant projects from our community handpicked by the PHmuseum curators.