Emerging from the Shadows
Most of my teen years and my adult life I have had some struggles with some mental health issues, but it was not until I reached my late 40’s that I understood somn of the reasons behind what was going on, I would hear people talk about being depressed, but I never though that was my problem. Mental health was not commonly talked about, except for extreme cases of people that were mentaly disturbed. Because it was not something that we were taught as being very common, I never identified that I might be depressed or suffering from a mental illnesds.
To deal with my thoughts and the things that kept me from sleeping at night, I did what I now know as self-medicated. In 2010 friends started to express some concerns about my self-meicating (in the form of drinking alcohol), so i started to take a look at what I was doing and went looking for some help to manage my drinking.Even with my drinking under control, the feelings I had been supressing began to haunt me again, this is when I dicoverd that the self-medicating / drinking was only an symptom and the the root of the problem.in and around 2012, a doctor finally was able to give me a fomal diagnosic of depression and PTSD, but I struggled to accept the fact that I had a mental illness. So my Journey of healing began
If my mental heath issues were not enough to deal with, my life became more complicated due to physical disabilies that were starting to impede me. Trying to understand and deal with the fact that I had a mental and physical disabilities, I went through stages simmilar to those of greif (denial, anger and acceptance) which I went through after the loss of my first wife in the late 90’s. It was clear at this point that I truly needed some professional help in order to learn how to cope and midigate the depression and begin to deal with my PTSD. In concert with the various medications the doctors had me try, and a few therapy groups / coping classes, I finally stated to see that there was some light beyond my personal darkness.
In the fall of 2018 I attended a thereapy group called PhotoVoice that helped me learn how to express myself and how I was feeling through photography. I had been doing serious photography for over 25 year, but I never used it to express my feelings, so this program openned my eyes up to a new chapter of my photography. While I owned several DSLR cameras, I choose to use the same pont and shoot Nikon camera that were loaned to the group for the duration of the program. In January ogf 2019, our group was asked to select 3 photos that best descibed how we felt and they were showcased in our own gallery show. Our group chose to call our show “the Little White Camera” project becase of the cameras we were using. The theme behind the images I selected was Emerging from the Shadows, because mental health is one of those topics that is often left in the shadows and not talked about.
Even today with all this covid-19 issolation and physical distancing, I was able to find a new way of using my photography as therapy. In all the years I have been taking photographs I had always tried to capture images for other peoples needs and not my own, so I decided to try a photograpy style that I have never experimented with Long Exposure Night photography. During the day, I would eplore the city in search of a locaton and view that I wanted to capture at night, then returned to those locations after dark. I still have a few shots that I want to improve on (especially after getting some expert critique and suggestions of how to get better long exposue night photos. As I write about my journey, I am planning to reshoot one of my night images in the early morning to get the reflection off the lake when it is not windy and the harbour is placid. This series of photo shoots has given my photography a personal purpose.
Now that you know where my journey began and where It has taken me thus far, I will try to begin creating more blogs and social media postings to share more of my journey as it comes along. I hope you will follow me as my journey continues.