Hygge x Depression
Hygge: "A quality of coziness and comfortable conviviality that engenders a feeling of contentment or well-being"
I released a few images many months ago with the intent of turning it into a full series but as time went on I started to think about the implications of doing a project like this and what kind of light it would create on both myself as well as my "brand." As I spoke to people about my experiences with depression and this project, their responses would come with an air of pity, confusion and sometimes even disdain, even if they had "nice" words to say. It wasn't as though those people weren't supportive of me as a person. It's just that they don't like the idea of bringing things like depression and mental illness into the open for others to see because depression is "unprofessional", "doesn't show me in a good light" and "isn't something clients want to know or see." And for a really long time I struggled with that. As someone creating a brand for himself, is this something I can afford to have attached to my brand? As someone looking to be working in a professional setting, is talking about mental health going to impact the opportunities I'll have in the future?
The more I thought the more confused I got, and the more conflicted I felt about sharing this. But I came to the realization that this field I've dived so deep into, photography, when stripped down to the most basic concepts, about storytelling. When I was younger I always thought I was all alone; the only one among my friends who felt the way I did. Stuck, alone and hopelessly hanging on. But as I got older, I saw more and more stories going through the same thing i did.
And so here we are with this project. As perpetual as something like depression can be, the fact remains that for many people, the knowledge of being in that state is only possible from also having experienced things like kindness, support, and comfort. I think when telling the stories of people that struggle with depression it's as important to remember that we're more than our mental illness! I can't speak for everyone that will be featured in this series, but I find it important to remind myself that my being is as much my depression as it's also my passions and aspirations.
To my friends who agreed to participate in this: thank you. Thank you for opening up to me and thank you for trusting me to share your story. Lastly, thank you for waiting so long for me.
And so without further ado, I present to you: Hygge x Depression. A series (long in the making) on the juxtaposition between physical areas of comfort and depression.