Bipolar: A Conceptual Photo Challenge

A set I did recently…

A friend of mine who is also a photographer invited me to participate in a personal challenge with her; the goal is to create concepts for each other to be executed as self portraits. I was very quick to say yes and the second she gave me my first concept I was beaming with ideas.

She said to me… ” I want you to pose with your heart open. Everything you feel about your mentality; I’ve noticed you’ve expressed yourself on Bipolar awareness. The bright side of Ana and the dark side of Ana…”  I’d love to go on about these images, but I think they more than speak for themselves. She knows how important this specific issue is to me, as I am very open about mental illness and the one that I happen to suffer from. I have been fighting my own little demons for about 10 years now and there isnt a day that goes by that Im not acutely aware of myself and what Im capable of.

When I was growing up, my grandmother did foster care and she took care of many children who were diagnosed with many different mental illnesses; but, the vast majority suffered from bipolar disorder (which leads me to believe it goes beyond genetics and is definitely trauma induced as well…) and it always frightened me. I was too young to understand how lost and hurt these kids were- so it scared the shit out of me when they would suffer these astronomical explosions, only to re-inflate moments later. I thought every person that had bipolar disorder was bound to meltdown into fits of tears & rage and most definitely stab someone in their sleep just to laugh 10 minutes later. I wont get into the details, but this was not far from what we experienced in her house with these troubled children. They were so very, very lost. But I was lost too and have been for quite some time.

About 10 years ago I was diagnosed with a mild form of bipolar disorder. I guess it makes sense because my father has a multitude of mental illnesses along with bipolar disorder, so the predisposition was inevitable obviously. It has been a long, grueling, very hard fight to obtain control of my inner & outer self– but the journey is a lesson in life that I am grateful for because it has taught me so much about love, life, and what living really means.

“Bipolar” 2014

 

 

Tear2

Depressive

Hypomanic

 

I Just Can’t

I’m sitting here at the computer begging my mind to give me something useful to say; and it’s midnight and I just can’t. Silently sitting here I’m praying that having said that will invoke something in me that has been laying dormant for a while, but alas, I am once again blank. Maybe I’m not blank… Maybe I’m hiding behind myself. Continue reading

Tunnel Vision

Yesterday, when I was at lunch with Michael, we sat and talked extensively…well I sat and talked extensively about the latest rut of depression I have been experiencing. The conversation actually started through muffled cries and rivers of tears streaming down my face the second we left the driveway. Yesterday was enough, and trying to get dressed just to leave the house proved to be more than I could bear in that moment. Its been very hard for me to get dressed lately, and on top of not being able to get through that simple task I am ridden with guilt and embarrassment because of the fact that I cant get through just putting clothes on my body. I cant get dressed because if Im experiencing any level of anxiety in the moment that Im trying to get dressed, my clothes feel and fit differently. The fabric is too tight, or the shirt is too short; or the back of my shirt doesn’t hang off of my body like the front of my shirt does. The best part is knowing what one article I could wear that would make all of that obsessive anxiety go away and its usually nowhere to be found.
Story of my life. Continue reading

Fly Away On My Zephyr

“I feel it more than ever, and in this perfect weather…we’ll find a place together.” 

I have been hooked on fabrics lately. What I mean is, I keep having all these beautifully brilliant/conceptual ideas for images to create that center around fabric. I love the way it dances with the human body and the way those subtle waves that move throughout mimic our emotions in that moment. So today I finished the second image in whats turning into my fabric series. The tones in this image are cool but welcoming, much like my prior dress image. I feel as though I may dance along this path in temperature for a while because often times I find that looking at the final product being cool in nature is not only satisfying, but relaxing to my crazy mind as well. I hope you enjoy this image as much as I do.

This was another collaborative piece I worked on with Michael J. Huxley Photography! Exercising his lighting techniques are a sure-fire way to make a great idea into an amazing image, along with all of his other amazing talents in this realm of art. Be sure to visit his website and browse through his beautiful and evoking gallery! Have a good evening friends.

-A

Zephyr