Five days of mind numbing depression. Unable to get out of bed. Way to start a new photography project.
My 2019 new year’s resolution was to start a new personal project. I have several that I have been considering/planning for quite some time and decided it was time to start one. I didn’t want this to be an indeterminate, ongoing project, like much of my Street Photography. Instead I wanted this to be something that was planned as a whole from the start, something with an envisaged end. Of course it will change/grow/morph along the way but I wanted that to be generally towards a completed whole project. It took me over a month to choose one and then the same again to think about possible images – to ensure that I had the minimum necessary for me to view it as complete.
The project I chose was “Loss” – a photographic examination of the losses that accumulate throughout our lives. I also wanted to challenge myself by trying a genre of photography I have never done before – Still Life (from the Dutch “Stilleven”). Unlike Street Photography or Sports, I would have complete control over the content of the images and decided that I wanted to construct them using various elements that all (or at least some) had a meaning that related to the specific theme of the image. I also wanted the series to share some of these elements and as such have an overall language; even if it was one that only I understood. So far, so safe.
Of course we knew that wouldn’t last. What is the point of doing a personal project that is general in nature. The more I thought about the images the more personal it became. Lost love, lost friends, a father lost to alcohol… not topics that are easy to think about or likely to inspire happiness, which brings us back to five days of depression. I’m bipolar, it’s a chemical imbalance triggered by my brain overreacting to something, often quite minor, that is occurring in my life. This was on a scale I’ve never experienced before but, after day five, there were a whole bunch of days where I was no longer depressed. We are in March 2019 – finally time to pick up the camera and start shooting test shots.
So here I am thinking about how to assemble the various shots. Thinking about props and what they mean, how they will be put together, where I can find a half bottle of vodka (can’t find one anywhere in Hong Kong). Taking on a project that is outside your normal style/genre is certainly an invigorating experience (when your brain isn’t polluting itself with unnecessary chemicals). Looking forward to the other challenges this project throws up.