About the Project
The goal of this project, "What Mental Illness Feels Like—Images & Stories", is to create a connection with the viewer through photography and storytelling, decrease stigma and increase awareness of mental illness; and, ultimately, to humanize it.
“What Mental Illness Feels Like—Images & Stories” is a personal photography project inspired by conversations with a friend who battled depression. The result of those conversations was a better understanding, not of the text book definition of his illness, but of how it felt to him in terms I could relate to. I wondered how I, as a photographer, could translate mental illness so that people without it could visually see how it feels, perhaps even relate in some way.
The project consists of photography and interviews. Conceptual photography was used to relay the feelings described in interviews with people living with mental illness. Conceptual photography is a way of showing feelings, concepts or stories—a “visual analogy” created with photography instead of words. Each visual analogy photograph will also have the person's story next to it to enhance the meaning of the image. For many participants I created black and white portraits, as I feel the portraits further humanize the experience for the viewer and help to reinforce that mental illness can happen to anyone.
The original project is being expanded to include more interviews and photography. The goal is to publish the book in 2020. Subscribe to newsletter updates about the book.
WHERE TO SEE THE EXHIBIT
Any upcoming exhibit locations will be listed on my Art Events page.
Interested in displaying the exhibit?
Website Link to EXCERPTS OF THE PROJECT
Download PDFs and JPGs
EXHIBIT HANDOUT (high resolution download) - Includes "What If?" (background of the project), Expectations and Surprises along the way, Myths about Mental Illness and Violence, and What Can You Do? Intended to be printed double-sided on single sheet of 8.5x11 paper.
The May 2018 art exhibit was made possible through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, thanks to funds provided by The McKnight Foundation.