We are told that more young men than ever suffer from depression. Mental illness has affected the lives of more of my loved ones than I want to accept. I took this portrait of my younger brother who has suffered with depression since he was 14 years old.
We worked together on this personal project to portray his experience of depression through photography, with the shared goal of de-stigmatising mental health issues. We wanted to question the notion of ‘putting on a brave face’ and ‘being a man’.
It is a challenge to capture the loneliness felt by those experiencing depression in a single photograph, but here I believe the emotion is tangible. While many deal with depression behind closed doors, this portrait confronts the viewer with the isolation and withdrawal felt by those suffering with this silent epidemic.
In a world where we are obsessively conscious of our image, where boys are told to ‘man up’, he is incredibly brave in being so vulnerable. It is rare to see a subject so unguarded. I believe this is a demonstration of trust between him and I as the photographer.
Yet, there is a separation between viewer and subject, reflecting the ultimate solitude that consumes those living with depression.
Every one of us will be touched by mental illness at some point in our life, either directly or through someone who is close to us. Head Talks believe there is no single path to mental wellbeing and that people can be helped in finding what works for them through information, inspiration and discussion.
By hosting short talks with psychiatrists, academics, yogis, authors, meditation experts, politicians, nutritionists, those who have struggled with and met the challenge of mental illness, and many others with a keen interest in the mind, Head Talks wants to enable each of us to build our own personal toolbox to support mental wellbeing and stay mentally fit.
By bringing these thoughts and discussions into the open, they aim to help lift the stigma that surrounds mental illness.
To enquire about volunteering with Head Talks, please fill out the form below.