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Christina Heurig

  • Germany
  • Berlin
  • Mental illness is a topic I strongly relate to. I suffer from strong anxiety attacks, and five years ago, I had to struggle with strong depression. The depression was partly caused by external causes like a broken heart, traumatic family issues and a very unsafe living situation - but also my family has a long history of genetically being wired to feel depression, light to severe cases. My photography explores mainly the emotional and spiritual realm evolving from those sufferings. I use mediums like glas plates, magnifying glases, shadows and other distorting objects to show a reality that is distortet itself. My main goal is to engage the viewers in how it FEELS to be mentally ill and cause some empathy among this still existing TABU in society.

  • "The scream". (personal cartharsis, from the series "78 hours"). Sometimes, at in the night, the pain comes out. Mental illness most often means as well a huge amount of feeling pain. The same areas in the brain, that are stimulated while feeling physical pain through the nerve system, are activated and let the victim feel this strong amount of pressure. And so - we scream. Shot through a magnifying glas.

  • "The ache". (personal cartharsis, from the series "78 hours"). Sometimes, at in the night, the pain comes out. Mental illness most often means as well a huge amount of feeling pain. The same areas in the brain, that are stimulated while feeling physical pain through the nerve system, are activated and let the victim feel this strong amount of pressure. And so - we scream. Shot through a magnifying glas.

  • "Midnight changed everything, selfportrait". A combined photography showing what happens in the intimate time of night: I become my true self, like a werewolf evolving into the mentally ill person I am. I can roam free in my world of thoughts, cry and be sad... while at day I have to function somehow to disguise how I feel inside truly. Materials used: cotton, a dead squirrel and some moon shaped shades.

  • "redemption" (personal cartharsis, from the series "inside insight"). Mental illness most often means as well a huge amount of feeling pain. The same areas in the brain, that are stimulated while feeling physical pain through the nerve system, are activated and let the victim feel this strong amount of pressure. And so - we scream. Shot through a magnifying glas.

  • "the shock" (personal cartharsis, from the series "inside insight"). Experiments with a glass bowl to reveal psychological layers. Electrical shocks were used in the early stage of medicine to heal mental illness (the reflection through the glass bowl symbolizes it). Also, brain waves consist of electronic waves - that are causing the "disfunction" of the brainwork - combined with chemicals and the way connecting instances in the brain work. This images addresses the "electricity" connected to mental illness.

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Teuta Pashnjari

  • Finland
  • Tampere
  • "Feeling BLUE" is a series about emotional sadness and lack of energy.
    "With this series I want to virtually engage in with other emotional people by pointing out that crying is the body's way to reduce but also process emotional stress, therefore it is needed. We live in a world where there is so much happening and where social media promotes more negativity rather than positivity, a fact that has affected our emotions and our lives. A good thing to do is let everything happen, sadness and happiness, then simply move on by welcoming new emotions."

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Maíra Morelle

  • Brazil
  • São Leopoldo
  • Essas fotografias são feitas inicialmente no sonho e inspiradas neles. Como psicóloga da teoria psicanalítica o inconsciente e os sonhos são um tema de interesse meu. Após o suicídio de uma mulher que eu amava, a necessidade de fotografar se tornou pingente, desde então faço fotografias para lidar com o luto, elas tratam da morte, melancolia , feminino e violências.

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Michael P. Viola III

  • United States of America
  • Portland
  • I’m an artist, psychotherapist, and shamanic practitioner based in Portland, OR. I create intuitive art and lead spiritually experiential workshops. My journey has taken me through the corporate, educational, and diverse social structures of NYC, the desert of New Mexico and the jungle and Andean peaks of Peru. These spaces, people, and cultures have influenced my capacity to stretch, adapt, and energetically understand a wide range of consciousness. I work intuitively, and empathically. I reside in Portland, OR. and work with clients both in person and remotely.
    I view art and its creation as an act of transcendence. It is a way to draw the sublime into the material and for the the physical to reach the numinous. As an intuitive/empathic artist, I am interpreter and instrument of this energy. I live intentionally, ceremonially, and experience my role as a sacred one of reverence and service. I honor the divinity in myself, in others, and in the natural world around me. This consciousness has a particular resonance and it magnetizes the ethereal. I experience this subtle energy and channel it in form, line, and color. The mindset I maintain during this process is, “Become what you are” and I allow the energy to move through me as I co-create through its prompting. These pieces are messages/downloads laden with energy, depth, and dynamism. As the artist I am here to ground that energy and to interpret it for my community. These pieces convey that energy to the viewer and begin to facilitate an opening towards higher consciousness.

  • "Right Brain Left Brain" 24"x36" acrylic and marker on canvas. Portland, Oregon 2020. This piece conveys to me a sense of two sides/energies. One of lined structures and one of soft flow. Over the years I've created drawings/paintings that represented this dynamic. I've always felt I was channeling information that I would receive through one side of my body/mind. The energy psychology model I work within, the left lobe of the brain is masculine: linear, directive, and active. The right lobe of the brain is feminine: intuitive, spatial, abstract, yielding, and receptive. I often feel this energy moving through the left side of my body which corresponds with the right brain (each lobe controls the opposite side of the body). I receive it and allow it to move through me, encouraged by the non-verbal expressive process of creating visual art. What comes through reminds me of forms and patterns you can see in cave paintings, runic script, or what I've experienced drawn by different tribes in Peru who work with ayahuasca. There is a fountain of information that is being tapped, temporally, vibrationally, and dimensionally different than the standard 3D awareness of regular life. Tapping into this place and drawing that non-verbal information through is an act of transcendence. For the viewer it challenges perspective and draws their consciousness to that place. Ultimately the work I do as an artist and healer is about bridging these realms of consciousness while shifting/challenging perspective. It allows individuals then to change their beliefs and ultimately change their own realities.

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Teresa Lyle

  • United Kingdom
  • Derry
  • Lough Foyle is beautiful. It is the life blood for our wonderful city. It has also had a very dark role to play in our history despite this natural beauty. 
    Suicide rates in Northern Ireland are amongst the highest in the world. Post conflict more lives have been lost to suicide than those lost during the 'troubles'. 
    In January 2020 the Samaritans reported that suicide rates for men and women are higher in Northern Ireland than other UK nations and the Republic of Ireland.
    Many families have had this devastating experience brought to their door. The life lost is a terrible blow to those left behind, it shatters worlds. 
    My family found itself dealing with the loss of a loved one. For us he'll never be just another statistic. 
    The families and local community assist in the search efforts, knowing the worst but needing to recover loved ones bodies from the River Foyle.  
    This work revisits the search routes walked for the six days before recovering the body.  It explores the trauma faced by the family, community and volunteer searchers. 
    The Foyle is a constant source of churning flotsam and jetsam.  Many items appear in the river daily, playing with one's eyesight. Hoping to find something, anything, belonging to him for reassurance that we were looking in the right places.  
    What are beautiful walks along the river bank for many holds deep trauma for those who have trod the same path looking for loved ones.
    With inner strength and determination family and friends pulled together to bring our loved ones home.
    The NHS is overwhelmed. Help is needed to staunch this awful loss of life. 

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Andrew Low

  • United Kingdom
  • Glasgow.
  • I shot a personal project around men's mental health and the stigma of men hiding emotion's, It's an ongoing project called Faces of Masculinity the entire project is self funded by me. Each photograph has a story behind it, a story that the men told in thier own words to go along side the image with issues ranging from aniexty in the work place, agoraphobia, losing a parent at a young age and more. All of these stories are viewable along side the rest of the image's on my website. 
    These images are from the first set of participant's but I have plans to do more next month before the end of the year. All image's shot on HP5 film.

  • Sean Gallagher

    "Having lost my father to an overdose when I was 10 years of age the concept of masculinity hit me square in the face at a crucial time in child development. Over night I felt I had to become the man of the house for my younger brother and mum.

    To me that meant toughness, protectiveness, showing no emotion etc and it has stuck with me to this very day, I haven’t cried or let many people see or hear my emotions for a long time.

    I thought surely on the day my daughter was born I would cry tears of joy and happiness but even then they didn’t come. If you know someone who might be struggling just try and help find a way for them to talk about it."

  • Jonathan Bismark.

    "Learning to move past "man up" and prioritize my mental health has been my most important personal breakthrough, and it was only possible because of the people in my life who made themselves open and available for genuine, non-judgemental conversation.

    It is often a real struggle to open up about difficult/traumatic experiences, emotions, and anxieties as a man, but the more we do, the faster we move past the pain and stigma.

    Pay close attention to your mental health and find people to confide in. At the same time, look out for the people in your life and try to be the person they can open up to."

  • Jamie Donoghue.

    "There are still times when I am sitting with my son and the thought goes through my head: where would I be now if I hadn’t said “I am struggling”? I know the answer of course, and it makes me hold him that bit tighter.

    I have had agoraphobia and generalised anxiety for almost 20 years. For too many years, I tried to hide the symptoms with alcohol and this inevitably made things much, much worse.

    It was an overwhelming fear of embarrassment and shame caused by the ridiculous belief that it wasn’t ‘very manly’ to talk about my well-being which silenced me. This ingrained notion that I couldn’t discuss my mental health, or even cry - the body’s natural way to regulate emotion - stole years from me.

    When I finally said that I needed help, it was the day that things began to get better. It wasn’t weakness which made me say it. It was the moment that I found strength to say that my mental illness was no longer going to dictate my life."

  • Francis Smith.

    "I had one really bad anxiety attack in an office job I had a few years ago that stopped me from going back.

    Things got so on top of me, and I hadn’t experienced such stress and anxiety up until that moment in my life. I was constantly worried about what people thought of me, or if anyone was annoyed at me, or if I was going to lose everything tomorrow. I would think all my internal thoughts were too dramatic and walk around with a constant weighty feeling of dread.

    It’s only been the last few years we as a society are talking about anxiety openly, that I found it wasn’t something to be ashamed of and the stigma has been lessened — especially with men.

    The first step to coming to terms to having an anxious disposition, is being honest with yourself and to people around you, and surrounding yourself with supportive and empathetic people.

    If it wasn’t for my traumatic experiences with anxiety in the past I probably wouldn’t be in the amazing place I am in now - personally, professional and mentally."

  • Cam Cooney.

    "Seeing a male family member cry is the rawest emotion I’ve ever experienced. You feel it in every part of your body. Crying is the biggest release I’ve experienced, its like a brick wall crumbling away from the chest. My biggest personal growths have came after tears; not after punch ups, being apathetic or raging with anger.

    The social pressure to be an emotionless male is intense and the moment we start being honest about our pain, our emotions and our anger, then the less overwhelming, less upsetting and less scary they come."

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Regina G. Santaella

  • Mexico
  • Mexico City
     Personal experience with mental illness (Bipolar II Disorder, Generalised Anxiety Disorder, Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder, dissociation and psychosis, Anorexia Athletica, Anorexia Nervosa, Orthorexia, Exercise Addiction).
     Register actions, thoughts, emotions, etc. when suspending pharmaceutical treatment over a period of 2-3 weeks.
     The research and chronicling of the experience was translated into a series of mixed media art pieces combining painting and photography.
     Pharmaceutical treatment has proven to be beneficial for me because it allows me to function as a “normal” member of society. However, it does have disadvantages (I usually describe the feeling of being on medication as “trying to run underwater”) and I often find myself wondering if my medication is overpowering, suppressing or simply hiding part of who I am. It’s always hard to separate myself from my disorders: I do not want them to define me, but I can’t deny the important role they play in who I am.
     The final pieces will not be a literal documentation of my mental illness, but more of an abstract representation of feelings and sensorial perceptions in the form of texture and colour.
    Undeniably, Amentia is born out of a personal desire to put my mind at ease and understand my life with mental illness better. Personal satisfaction and sublimation of self experience on a psychoanalytical level are certainly an important motivation.
    Nevertheless, I also intend to shed some light on the reality of mental illness, for they are sometimes dismissed and not considered as real as other types of diseases. What is more, they are stereotyped and stigmatized, which makes it harder for them to be considered valid. I interact on a daily basis with people struggling with different forms of mental illness, and while it is true that everyone’s experience is different, we do have a lot in common. Moreover, I wish to contribute in destroying the idea of mentally ill people as weak victims of their condition.
    In most cases, we have a tendency to focus on a certain final result as the most important part of a project or a situation. Nevertheless, I believe the majority of what makes something rich lies within the process, which can easily get lost if we choose to ignore it. Hence, although Amentia does have tangible pieces that could count as a result, they won’t be considered “final”, for this project will remain on-going, with its main focus always on the process.

    With my episodes come a series of uncontrollable racing thoughts that can go from childhood trauma to random nonsensical babble. I decided to place note pads everywhere so I could record as many of these ideas as I possibly could (that’s the thing with racing thoughts, they’re not easy to “grab”). Also as a result of my episodes – especially hypomanic episodes –, I can sometimes experience particularly intense bursts of creativity. They are usually triggered by the fact that my senses are so incredibly heightened – thus my synaesthesia as well – that I experience a desperate need to “get them out” from inside me and place them into something external – whether it be a canvas, a song, a random piece of trash…
    Series of self-portraits, given the very personal nature of the theme, and paint over them, which symbolizes the overwhelming waves of stimuli and
    sensations that I experience. They can be so intense, at times it feels like they are literally on me, overpowering me.

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  • United Kingdom
  • Brighton/London
  • I am a photographer from Lancing, near Brighton. I grew up in a single parent family, in a council house. My art is work to make change and highlight the ever expanding gaps between the classes, as well as commenting on other political topics.

  • This image was taken in my home town, Lancing.
    Growing up in a low income area means being exposed to a great deal of art expression through graffiti.
    The sky above aims to capture the magnitude of our insecurities and anxieties.
    I just thought that there was something quite comforting about having ones inner labels sprayed onto a broken fence for all to see. Our mental health doesn't have to be a taboo or secret, we all suffer in some way or another.