I’m really thrilled this book is making its way to becoming a reality!
Over the coming weeks and months I’m going to be sharing sneak previews of my upcoming book, If You Only Knew—Revealing the Humanity of Mental Illness.
I’ll be featuring excerpts from the book, behind the scenes photos of images I created for the book, and even some of my thoughts on the experience of creating it.
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LET ME INTRODUCE YOU
For those of you unfamiliar with how this whole thing started, I’m sharing a portion of the preface of the book. I figured why not start at the beginning of the book for this first Sneak Preview series of blog posts?
Preface: How It All Began [excerpt]
I created If You Only Knew from a place of kind curiosity and openness to understanding.
The idea for the photo essay was inspired by conversations with a friend who battled depression. Those conversations helped me understand the illness. Not the textbook definition of it. But how it actually felt in terms I could relate to.
After that experience, I wondered how I could use my talent and insight as a photographer to visually translate personal descriptions of mental illness. Perhaps helping others better understand mental illness as well.
You might wonder, as I did, why anyone would share their personal story so publicly. When I asked participants this question, some common themes shaped their responses. Jenna’s and Chelsea’s interviews reflect these themes. Jenna hoped to break down the stigma of mental illness—“to do that, you have to talk about it,” she said. Chelsea shared her story in “hopes that it will help just one person.”
A total of thirty-two people agreed to be interviewed, including those already a part of the exhibit. …
I’ve created a vignette for each participant, combining each interview with either a portrait or a visual analogy photograph or both. The text and photographs are meant to complement one another, telling a richer story than one element could tell alone.
During interviews, I asked a series of questions to learn about each person’s journey. The central question was, “What does your mental illness feel like?” The participants’ responses were the creative impetus for the visual analogy photographs.
In book form, If You Only Knew can be experienced by more people than those visiting the art exhibit. And by reaching more people, it can further realize my original goals: to create a bridge of understanding between those with and without mental illness, to decrease discrimination, to increase awareness about the experience of mental illness, and ultimately to humanize it.
©2019 Barb Kellogg, All Rights Reserved.
As I mentioned at the top, I’ll be writing a series of posts over the coming weeks and months—sharing excerpts, photographs, and my thoughts about writing a book from the perspective of being a photographer. Topics won’t necessarily be in this order.
And as the time gets closer, I’ll be talking about how you can pre-order the book, too. There are a lot of moving parts that have to settle into place before one gets to hold a book in their hands. (But I will share with you that I’m hoping to start pre-orders this November. Just like a school lunch menu, subject to change. But I’ll keep you posted!)
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Thanks for reading!