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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) Write a comment


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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