Living Between the Darkness and the Light - Project Statement
I’m not sure when I began suffering from depression. The dark thoughts and anxieties grew gradually throughout my life. I became very adept at hiding behind masks and not letting myself or others see what was going on inside. But inside was a roller-coaster of emotions: Sadness, anxiety, anger, overwhelm, self-doubt and even moments of happiness and peace. Photography became one of the tools I used to hide from my emotions. It allowed me to detach from the world, viewing it through the lens and not having to interact with it.
Eventually the depression and emotions became too much suppress, and I sought out help through therapy. It did not cure me of depression but allowed me to live with its ups and downs. I became more aware and accepting of my feelings and emotions.
With this awareness, I began to see glimpses of my feelings in my photographic work that mirrored the ebb and flow of my depression. Most of the images alluded to the emotion rather than stating it directly. A lone tree on a hill, a chaotic flock of birds, a wave crashing over a rock or a sunflower in the evening light. When making the images, the expression of these feelings was unintentional. They leaked out of my subconscious, like reflections of my inner self in the world around me. My photography changed from a means of escaping depression to a way to explore it and my mental state.
The COVID pandemic with its lockdowns and limited social contact brought many of my negative emotions back to the surface, which inspired me to further explore my feelings by creating new work. I don’t intend to make specific images. Instead, I’ve learned to trust my inner self to recognize when a scene resonates with my feelings.
“Living Between the Darkness and the Light” is a collection of my works old and new that provide glimpses into my life with depression. On a personal level these images are therapeutic. They allow me to give these feelings a name and bring them into the light. On a social level, I want to shed some light on the stigma of mental health issues. I encourage viewers to both look at and feel these works. Not just to understand myself, but to understand themselves and what lives behind their masks.