Project Proposal: “More than your list” // Mental Health Photo Series
A series of 8-12 subject-driven studio portraits where a list of mental health or other struggles that the subject has faced are listed, physically written on their body. For added impact, these listings could be real struggles of the subject, however depending on their comfort level, could also be only partially true or a completely fictional list. In either case, the subject should not be personally identifiable from either their list or their portrait, (other than possibly by those who already know them well individually).
Date: TBD once subjects’ schedules are figured out.
Location: Studio setting, likely Wade Studio (Bloor/Lansdowne)
Set: White backdrop, two lights, props optional
Medium: 120 6×7 film, digital as a backup.
The series presents two main messages. The first is to display to others who may be struggling in silence, or just now learning how to express their difficulties, that they are not alone. The second is to show via the contrast of a blatant list, that the subject, and as such the viewer, is so much more than the list of their struggles.
The lists would be written on the skin or clothes of the subject in black, blue or red ink, such as on arms, hands, neck, shoulders, shirt, around a shirt collar, etc. The lists would be in either the handwriting of the subject or printed from a typewriter onto skin transfer paper, giving the image that it is typed directly onto the skin. If handwritten, it would ideally be applied themselves wherever possible. If it is not possible to have the subject write it themselves, they would first write it on paper, and then someone else could help transpose it in the same handwriting.
The lists would contain mental health struggles that the subject faced (and were willing and comfortable to share) though could also include current feelings about life and life plans, etc. The lists could also contain whatever else the subjects wanted to share in this format. Ideally, the lists would be constrained to negatives, rather than positives, as the message of the series is that you can overcome and be more than your list.