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Nicholas Adams

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Jan 5, 2009
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My name is Nicholas Adams I am at the moment writing a dissertation and the title is:

Photography and Portraiture and its use within the representation and diagnosis of mental health.

I hope you dont mind me using your forum as a source of information and if people have any stories, or suggestions about how photography has represented a mental health issue or missrepresented it then that would be greatly appreciated.

I hope this is not taken as rude or anything I have done my research and this title is very close to me for personal reasons as well as my facination with the history of mental health which has led me to document and Photograph many of the old institutions throughout the UK.

Nicholas Adams
 
emski

emski

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Hi Nicholas,

Welcome aboard.

I don't know that I have any specific ideas regarding the use of photography within the representation and diagnosis of mental health, but from my personal experience as bipolar and having a passion for creative arts and photography, I can tell you that I see things a lot differently and more creatively when I'm hypomanic or manic. In those times I take hundreds of photos wherever the opportunity presents itself and have been found climbing trees or stopping the car on a country road to capture an unmissable sunset. Also, when I am having a hypomanic/manic episode, everything looks to me brighter, sharper and more beautiful, sometimes too much so that it hurts my eyes. The same happens with all my other senses, they go into overdrive. It's a bit like being on e! I also paint and do absurdly vivid oil pastels prolifically in these episodes, and people who I give them to, usually other patients or friends, say from the pictures that they can tell I'm bipolar.

Anyway don't know if that is of any use to you, but I hope to have helped. Good luck with your dissertation (y)
 
A

Apotheosis

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Photography and Portraiture and its use within the representation and diagnosis of mental health.

I hope this is not taken as rude or anything I have done my research and this title is very close to me for personal reasons as well as my facination with the history of mental health which has led me to document and Photograph many of the old institutions throughout the UK.
Hi Nicholas

That sounds fascinating & worthwhile. I stayed a few times in one of the Old Victorian Building hospitals complex. The Old Manor in Salisbury - it is no longer called that; I am unsure of the new name.

Many of the buildings in the grounds were boarded up. There was an acute ward in an Old part of the hospital, & very big old Victorian baths. They had built two other open wards in the late 60's & 70's. There was an Old Chapel on the ground too, & a disused night shelter for the homeless. The place was steeped in history. In it's hey day the place was visited by some very well to do people. The hospital used to own buildings in other parts of the town. An old Hotel across the road was used to transport well to do clients; through underground passageways into the hospital; as a cover to preserve their anonymity. There was also a main passageway which lead from the main town centre into the hospital; so as not to scare town residents when taking the "mad" people in to stay. A very interesting complex.

There has been extensive building works there recently - I don't know what they have now done to the place, I haven't been there in around 9 years. The last time was just a visit. Maybe I should go back & see what it is like today; just to poke my head round the door & say hello.
 
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Apotheosis

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Have you got any of your pictures up on-line? I would be very interested to see them.
 
rollinat

rollinat

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honeyquince

honeyquince

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Uurrgghhh (that was an involuntary internal shudder) - pretty spooky photographs Nicholas. How did you gain access - is it just a case of peeling back board over a broken window?
 
N

Nicholas Adams

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Jan 5, 2009
Messages
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access was always through an open window etc.... I never damage the buildings I visit. I have too much respect for the history and architecture there. Glad you like them, I grew up next to 5 of the old "asylums" which all closed bar one when I was in my teens when the care in the community act was passed here in the UK, my experience of mental health both within my home town after the act was passed and also my own personal experience of suffering with servere ADHD and also very severe Depression has led me to do this dissertation.
 
honeyquince

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It's fascinating... the image that always sticks in my mind is of Jack Nicholson on the cover of One Flew Over a Cuckoos Nest. Not a happy image I'm afraid though there is little 'happiness' in mental illness.
 
S

saffron

Guest
those pictures as well as all of them are fantastic. they really brought out the decay and isolation that is indirectely felt by all of us at some point. very thought provoking. You have really inspired me and I think I am going to take up photography as my new hobby, thats one of my new years resolutions done. hoorah.
going back to the original question would it be a representation that highlights the perceived opposite that non mental illness sufferers are all pictured as the carefree flowery sunny and really happy. it highlights a real divide in society. then that could be the red wine talking?
anyway best of luck with the dissertation and let us see the published copy.
S
 
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