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From the Introduction...

"In August 2003 I was briefly hospitalized for depression. While I had suffered for years with bouts of depression and anxiety, I had never been treated for it. The hospitalization brought about an actual diagnosis and subsequent treatments. In the months that followed I took note of a lot of the feelings that I had and that other people were describing during group therapy and individual therapy sessions.

While in therapy, I started taking photography classes and was encouraged to use it as a form of therapy. I have always had extreme difficulty talking about my emotions, even with my closest friends and family. During the class, I took the feelings I was having and the feelings of others I related to and tried to interpret them visually, creating a small collection of 20 images that expressed the thoughts and ideas I was having about the negative things in my life, including depression, anxiety and suicide. This project later progressed further as I took photos from the original project and expanded it with new ideas into a scrapbook of over 50 images.

The images are not meant to be pleasant, artistically beautiful or technically clean. Some are a little out of focus, others are too dark; there is graininess, the borders are off, the prints are not uniform in size; there is a roughness to the whole collection which I feel solidifies the overall theme.

In my mind, this project is unfinished, and may remain so indefinitely. It is a work in progress that I continue to make changes to. I’ll take breaks from it; some short and some long, but always return to it when I’m having trouble dealing with the negative parts of my life. I have made changes to the original collection many times and even now I see images I want to remove or change, new ideas I want to create and add. Eventually, I hope that this will evolve into a mixed media project with other forms of art and perhaps some writing as well (aside from this rambling introduction, of course). This book is primarily for me, a form of individual therapy. I don’t expect everyone to like it, but for the few like-minded individuals out there, I hope you enjoy it and find your own ways to tackle your inner demons…"


About the Author

Melissa Mahan Photography
melissamahan Concord, CA

Comments (2)


errokem says

cool layout!

posted at 08:50am Jul 25 PST


MishaBean says

Photography as therapy, what a sound idea. Good luck with your book.

posted at 04:04am Jul 16 PST


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