Friday, May 5, 2017

Depicting Depression

A twenty-two year old photographer has documented his daily battle with his "inner demons" in a haunting and thought-provoking series of his own photographs.
Christian Hopkins was diagnosed with depression while he was in high school. The Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, resident began taking photographs as a means of ‘fighting’ his illness.  He credits his images, and the photo-sharing website Flickr, where he found his original inspiration, with saving his life,
A photographer has captured what it feels like to live inside a black cloud of depression in a stunning and haunting series of photographs.
Hopkins, 22, lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. He explains that the images of decapitated heads, shrouded figures and bleeding ghosts, which he originally shared on his Facebook page, sum up what depression feels like to him, The Huffington Post reports.
He said that he discovered photography at age 16 after being diagnosed with depression, and credits the art therapy with saving his life, noting that he was never able to explain in words how his depression felt, but through his images, he found a means of describing the effect that the mental illness has on him.
"Throughout my life, I’ve had these demons that I’m battling against, just really negative thoughts that I couldn’t control," he said. "Whenever I had to describe it, I had nothing to say, but I had images, I had ways to express myself through pictures, to fight against my depression."

Christian added that he first became interested in photography after his mother gave him a camera for a high school trip."I started looking for small stories that I could tell. Eventually I was looking for the hidden beauty in the world," he said.
"A few months later I woke up one morning and nothing was satisfying, nothing meant anything, it was all a black void. Everything seemed so pointless, I just wanted it to end. To put it simply, I tried to kill myself. There was no reason for it, no explanation."
"I have been using photography as a means of therapy to help deal with a lot of the emotions that I had trouble understanding at the time," he explained to the Huffington Post
'Whenever I felt controlled by a particular emotion, I wouldn't be able to think or concentrate properly until I took that emotion out of my head and trapped it in a photograph.'
After a bout of depression and subsequent suicide attempts, Christian discovered Flickr his senior year of high school. At first, he began copying the style or other photographers he found through the picture-sharing website, before eventually finding his own surreal style.
"[Photography] became a form of therapy that I could use to fight my depression," he added to The Weekly Flickr. "I would create an emotion that I was feeling so that I could see it. Once it was on the page, it was no longer in my head and that was incredibly relieving."
Christian says his favorite image that he has taken is one entitled Inner Demons, because it "so accurately" depicts what he is feeling, and he believes that anyone looking at the photograph can immediately understand the conflicted emotions that he is trying to convey, without ever having felt that way themselves.
"It connects me to everyone who looks at that picture," he added. 
Photos Depicting Depression by Christian Hopkins

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