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  1. #1

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    Photography and depression

    I recently read a quote somewhere (unfortunately, I can't remember where right now), that said something to the effect of "most of history's music, painting, poetry, writing...worth paying attention to was created by someone who suffered depression at some stage in life." I probably butchered this, but that's the thrust of it, anyway.

    I'm wondering about how this applies to photographers in history. Edward Weston's "darkening" vision later in life is documented. Diane Arbus killed herself. I haven't read it yet, but in skimming through "Paul Strand: Southwest," it looks like there were "issues" between Paul and Rebecca Strand and Georgia O'Keeffe, which probably caused Strand some sort of mental problems (again, I haven't read this book yet--it's up soon).

    What other photographers can you think of who suffered mental health problems; depression in particular? I would like to hear about it.

    Mike

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mike Lopez
    What other photographers can you think of who suffered mental health problems; depression in particular? I would like to hear about it.
    Although not a legend (yet)...ME

  3. #3

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    I believe most people during some period of their life suffer from depression.
    Claire (Ms Anne Thrope is in the darkroom)

  4. #4
    mono's Avatar
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    As Claire just mentioned that┤s something what might happen to everyone of us, not only to artists!
    But there it is said to impose a sort of special creativity.
    ________

    Regards
    Folker

    MonoArt - fine photographs

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by mono
    But there it is said to impose a sort of special creativity.
    I think depressed people (and mentally ill people in general) make art because it is a way of getting the feelings out. Therefore art made my these people can be more expressive than other art. I have written some great songs when being depressed.

  6. #6
    Monophoto's Avatar
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    Years ago, when it was still worth buying and reading, Popular Photography had a regular column by Cora Wright Kennedy. In one of her columns, she included an image that she had made at the time of her father's death, and said that the process of making that image helped her to come to terms with the fact of his passing. The picture was a simple image - a leaf from a tree, trapped in a chain-link fence. It was beautiful and sensitive, and while it wasn't literal in telling it's story, casual viewers could look at it and know that it resulted from an introspective time in the makers life.

  7. #7

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    i know whenever i am depressed, i find that making things
    not only gives me an outlet, but it is a form of escape. ...

  8. #8
    rbarker's Avatar
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    I agree - depression, sadness, and emotional pain - in their various shades - or, even joy, all act to spur creative expression, whether in visual arts, musical, or word art (poetry or prose). I'm of the opinion that what creates an artist (of any type) may be that they are endowed (blessed or cursed) with greater sensitivity to life experiences, and then choose a medium with which to express their feelings.

    I think we see fluctuations in the work of most people, and those fluctuations often represent periods of depression or emotional pain, even if subtle. It's when the depression becomes excessive, or sinks into insanity, that artists often become self-destructive.
    [COLOR=SlateGray]"You can't depend on your eyes if your imagination is out of focus." -Mark Twain[/COLOR]

    Ralph Barker
    Rio Rancho, NM

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by rbarker
    I agree - depression, sadness, and emotional pain - in their various shades - or, even joy, all act to spur creative expression, whether in visual arts, musical, or word art (poetry or prose).
    I'm kind of the opposite. When my depression is strong (and I can most definitely feel it), it's all I can do to get out of bed and do anything, let alone do anything creative. That's what I'm actively trying to overcome. Sometimes I need my wife to give me a swift kick in the ass and send me out the door with my gear. But then again, some of my better pictures have been made at those times, as well. Getting up and going is the hardest part.

    Thanks for your responses so far.

  10. #10
    battra92's Avatar
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    I have a form of depression and use light therapy for it. Except when I'm depressed, I don't want to do anything including make art. Photography is something I tend to do when I'm happy and I hope my photos reflect that. I do take some photos on my "blah" days but when I'm not in the mood, I'm just not in the mood.

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