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Mental Health Sticker Portrait Series

Hi everyone! I hope you're having a fabulous day. Today I'm sharing a series of photos from a photography class project recently that I'm very passionate about. The project prompt was fairly simple - choose a genre (landscape, portrait or documentary) and create a series of photos based on the cohesive genre. I decided on portraiture and used recent emotional inspiration to create a theme.

At times, we as people tend to express our inner emotional/mental well being as more positive on the exterior than we actually feel. We can take ugly or negative feelings and channel them into exterior sparkly and colorful positivity. This has always been a theme for me: I tend to hide my negative feelings out of fear of seeming like a burden or nuisance to those around me. While this is productive in the moment, it leaves us emotionally drained and confused over time as we discover that hiding how we're doing internally from others doesn't give the people who care about us the opportunity to help us.

Every Miss-Productivity-Influencer on Instagram will constantly preach about the "power of self-talk", and to me I always thought that self-affirmations and positive self talk was a stretch. How could talking to yourself improve anything about yourself? Well, in recent sports psychology lessons with my college coach I learned about how self talk actually does affect the way we perform in sports and life. I never really believed it before seeing the psychological science stats, but turns out it's true! The way we talk to ourselves has the power to affect what we achieve and how we act. This got me thinking about the way I think about myself in both sports and life. Am I kind to myself? Am I too easy on or too hard on myself? Do I believe I'm capable of something before I achieve it, and should I?

The way we think about ourselves is so deeply important. It affects how quality of life and mental health so deeply, but it also has the ability to help us achieve new heights athletically and socially. For this project, I compiled some friends of mine and talked to them about their mental health and how it affects them. What do they say and think about themselves, physically and mentally? Does it parallel with other people's criticisms of them? I tried to specifically focus on the negative evaluations of them and portray them in a juxtaposed positive and bright way through colorful sticker gems. The effect was very moving for me as an artist and I'm very happy with how this project turned out. It means a lot to me so I hope you enjoy the results! I'm very thankful for my beautiful and complex friends for modeling for me and helping me tell this emotional and sparkly story.

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