So I did a really good job of keeping up with my blog by writing my first post then disappearing for 2 weeks to finish my very last piece of university coursework. But I made it!
Naturally I have been spending my days doing naff all since and have told my boyfriend if I ever contemplate attempting a masters degree, never, EVER, let me do one! The past 3 years have been an experience and a half (I’m planning to tell all of that in a gem of a blog post soon) but I don’t think describing myself as the queen of procrastination even comes close to the levels I will go to so I can avoid doing work… we just don’t agree. But like I said, I made it, and now it’s time for a job hunt.
For my final major project, I decided to create a piece about my battle with anxiety. At the beginning of my third year, we were all encouraged to tell a story about ourselves. Some told light hearted stories, whereas others shared near death experiences and stories of their life with mental illness. This meant we all learnt things about each other that you would never have even guessed after spending the last 2 years together but it brings up how we never know what personal battles people are having. I offered my stimulating story of myself and my boyfriend finding someone having a fit on the side of the road and having to call an ambulance for them (it was the first time I had ever done this and quite frankly… petrifying) but after revisiting this task later on in the module I decided to tell my class about my battle with anxiety. This was quite well received so I decided to continue with this for my final major project.
I have always been interested in photography since a young age after growing up with my Dad having a camera in his hand for years. I first started studying it at A-Level, then came on to university to get a degree. I am a big fan of commercial photography e.g. family portraiture, weddings, sports but in terms of still life, landscape, fine art etc, I have always found it a little bit more difficult. So naturally, trying to express my emotions and struggle with anxiety through photography was hard. I LOVE the seasons, and one of the ways I have coped with my anxiety has been through photographing and being outdoors so I decided to include my recent images of the changing seasons as part of my project. Along with this, I experimented with a series of self portraits to create more narrative and understanding for the viewer.
This image is what I think best describes my battle with anxiety. For me, the hardest thing has been dealing with my anxiety ALWAYS being there. When I wake up, when I eat, when I shower, when I go out, when I go to a lesson or lecture, when I walk anywhere or take public transport, when I go to bed… the list is endless. With it constantly on my mind, I became trapped by my anxiety and at some points, I was too scared to just live. This is represented by wearing a mask, which also symbolises how I felt anxiety took away my personality. I’ve forgotten what it feels like to be ‘normal’ and to just live a ‘normal’ life. Being able to do something without having to worry how my anxiety is going to get me next time. That’s what has been the hardest.
During my research for my final major project, I came across Broken Light Collective – “the online photography gallery for people affected by mental illness.” I absolutely love this site to which anyone can contribute and I loved seeing all the different pieces of work made by those who found some release and therapy through photography. I particularly recommend you take a look!