Seeing Mental Illness

Mental Illness.png

Getty Images is currently running a competition for photographs and images that depict mental illness in a way that rejects stereotypical portrayals and incorporates their recommendations. The photograph above is another submission from the South Bank Hub. 

Artist Statement:

People who are mentally ill are often afraid of telling others that they are struggling, due to a fear of how others will perceive them. Because of this, it can often be difficult for people to see that someone is suffering from a mental illness.

This is the basic concept behind this image. The idea was to show the turmoil in the mind of someone who is suffering from anxiety and depression and how this may not be obvious to others, hence the blindfold. To depict an element of hope, the same people appear in the foreground of the photo, the blindfold gone, and the mental illness no longer hidden. This was done to show the positive effects of a mentally ill person reaching out to others and the difference it makes in starting on the road to recovery.

To create the image, two photos were taken ­ the first one showing the inability to see the mental illness and a second photo with both people smiling. In the first photo, multiple copies of the head were made, flipped over and the colour desaturated. A slight motion blur was applied to the heads and a blue tinge was applied to the overall image to suit the mood. The bodies in the second photo were cut out, placed into the first photo and given a warmer tone to reflect the positive message.