About the Project
“What Mental Illness Feels Like—Images & Stories” is a personal photography project inspired by conversations had 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 goal of the project is to use photography and words to create an empathic relationship in the viewer, decrease stigma and increase awareness of mental illness; and, ultimately, to humanize it.
The project consists of using conceptual photography to relate 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.
A portion of the sales proceeds of the visual analogy photographs will be donated to Catholic Charities Hope Community Support in St. Cloud, Minnesota. (Clients and staff there were integral in making this project a reality. Many of their clients are a part of this project.) Visual Analogy Photographs will be available for purchase at Gallery St Germain during exhibit hours, and on my website starting 5/1/18.
This activity is made possible through a grant from the Central Minnesota Arts Board, thanks to funds provided by The McKnight Foundation.
Location and Date of debut May Exhibit
- May 2nd — 26th, 2018: Gallery St. Germain, 912 West St. Germain, St Cloud, MN. (Across from The Paramount.)
Website Link to EXCERPTS OF THE PROJECT
Download PDFs and JPGs
- EXHIBIT HANDOUT (low resolution) - 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. (Low resolution file–not for commercial printing. Contact me if you need the high resolution version.)
- ARTIST RESUME
- ARTIST STATEMENT
- PROJECT ARTWORK - High Resolution | Low Resolution
- BARB KELLOGG'S PHOTO - High Resolution | Low Resolution