Snap out of it – Project to raise Awareness of Depression through Photography
What is “Snap out of it”? It is a new photography project conceived by Matthew Bridge-Wilkinson to highlight and explore the issues and stigma attached to mental illness. More specifically to raise awareness of depression.
The intention is to create a number of high quality, conceptual images to raise awareness and fuel discussion around the many aspects of depression.
Why call it “Snap out of it”? Depression can often be something that is difficult for someone who has never been affected to understand. It also has a great deal of stigma attached that a broken leg or physical illness does not. This can cause many to suffer in silence and not seek help out of embarrassment or even fear of being labelled or discriminated against.
It is often perceived by those who have never been affected, that it is something within the individual’s easy control and they should “snap out of it”. This is something that was said to me by a doctor many years ago, at the time I knew no better. In reality it is far from that simple and perhaps a little insulting to suggest this to a genuine sufferer. Ironically through photography I found a means to boost my own confidence, willpower and self-esteem to find the strength and determination to actually beat depression.
My experiences: Depression first reared its head in my life in my early 20′s, and would often come and go. Probably my worst episode lasted for a good 4 or more years. During these times everything appeared quite differently to me at that time and many mundane things could be hugely difficult to deal with. Like many I was afraid to admit I was having a problem and would effectively hide it from those close to me. At times I reached rock bottom and was overwhelmed by negative feelings.
I am fortunate now that I am very rarely affected by depression and have progressed my photography a great deal in the past few years. I like to think that photography was the boost I needed to fight through and now I would like to give something back through my work. I hope to demonstrate that you need not let depression beat you, that you can lead a fulfilling and productive life.
The shoots: The first shoots begin in May 2012 and will continue for 6 months. The intention is to document them with the help of videographer John Simpson , including interviews with both the photographer and those involved in the project, their thoughts and experiences.
Although the images are a major part of the project, other aspects of media will aim to enhance the impact and value of the project. Regular video diaries and interviews will be posted on the blog along with actual photographs.
I will be working with a variety of makeup artists, models, stylists and hair stylists to produce a series of powerful images.
An exhibition: The intention is to hold an exhibition at the end of the project to display all of the images at a venue to be decided. Images will be available for purchase at a later date with proceeds going to a charity to be announced.