Step by Step version # 2794...

Step by Step version # 2794...

Monday, 4 August 2014

One Giant Step For Suzy Kind…..

This last week I met a very interesting young women. Her name is Siobhan Brannign. She is a multimedia student from Ryerson University. She is working on her thesis for her Masters in Multimedia, and is interviewing people for her “From a Negative to a Positive “project.

She is driving across the country meeting and interviewing people she has connected with for her project. I must tell you, it does my heart good to see the younger generation talking about mental illness.
I met with her on Wednesday afternoon, she is a very bright, articulate, brave and beautiful young women. 

She asked me questions about my condition, how I got into public speaking about mental health issues, what I did to help me through it and other questions. When that portion was done we went down to the dock where my teams’ dragon boat is moored and she took some pictures of the boat and myself with my paddle.
For those of you who have been reading my blog, you know I have been working hard around the “camera issue”

As I was standing on the dock next to the 48 foot, red dragon boat, I was calm, somewhat relaxed and leaning on my paddle, staying in the present moment.
It was interesting for me to stay in the present and not dissociate when my picture was taken, I am glad I did all that hard work.

Of course, once she left I thought of a million things I could have said, or showed her more things  that helped me through those rough times…and will in the future.

The next day I received a message for Siobhan- she was staying in Victoria. She asked if she had left her tripod at my house, she did, so we arranged to meet at a half-way point in Nanaimo- at the Chapters book store. Because I just hate book stores wink wink…

My son and I drove down and had time to look around the book store, and believe it or not, I actually looked at photography books, and low and behold bought a photography magazine.

Now this may not be a big deal to folks, but for me it’s a huge issue. It’s a giant step for me…in the past as much as I wanted to learn and discover, I would be pulled away from the photography world…

Later that evening I made a tea and skimmed through the magazine/journal. It is all about macro photography- of course there are terms and things I have no idea what the hell they are talking about, and I was a little overwhelmed with information, so I put it down for a bit.

But I did lean things. I also remember what I read in the magazine, and look forward to learning more.

If I had not faced and worked on my camera issue, I would not have been able to remember the look or to pick up the magazine. To learn and move forward…to discover and look forward to being creative with the camera.

As I am packing to go back up to Sointula for a few more days, I will pack my camera gear and once again take some more pictures and see where my journey goes.

It is amazing where one can go when you deal with your fears and issues. As I continue I will keep you posted on where my journey takes me.

This may be a tiny step for mankind, but a GIANT step for me.
Those are my thoughts for the day

I wish you all safety and wellbeing on your journeys.

Cheers and be well

PS- here is some more info on Siobhan from her Facebook page
This is an ongoing documentary photo based project by Siobhan Brannigan. It focuses on coping with mental illness and creating an open place for discussion
To create a safe space to present people's journeys with mental illness through the use of photography and interviews. To create an opportunity for open discussion, to give and receive advice on coping strategies, and to discuss potential solutions to any problems.
This project A Positive From A Negative started off as a thesis for my undergrad in photography. It has now evolved to become my thesis project for my masters degree in Documentary Media at Ryerson University.

In this project I am dealing with the issue mental health. With the subject finally becoming a big topic of discussion in various forms of media it is time to try and bring a new approach on the subject. My ultimate goal is to create a website. One that individuals can go to and view different approaches and journeys people have had. I also want a space that people can discuss their own issues or offer supportive advice. To do this I need to create a large body of work and that is what this next step is to do.

Mental health and illness awareness is a topic that is just beginning to gain a profile in our society. The statistics that show the number of people who struggle and the number of people who do not understand how to approach the situation is staggering. Mental health is often considered pejoratively, as a stigma, yet many do not realize that many people are able to live a successful, and positive life while facing these ‘negative’ struggles. Due to personal experience with mental health issues and having openly discussed this with the people around me, I have realized that mental health is a topic that rarely has any positive aspects attributed to it and in turn people are not always comfortable discussing their situation. This is an unfortunate circumstance, as through interaction and discussion with others many people can learn better coping strategies and approaches in their daily life.

With my series, A Positive from a Negative, I wish to contribute to a vital discussion about mental health. I wish to create a space for people to observe, to listen, and to talk about their experience with mental health, particularly those leading a positive life. I want to create a safe space for people to learn and for people to teach. There is a lot of information available about mental health but many people do not take the time and make the initiative to seek it out. People should take that time because every person who lives without mental illness has, in fact, several interactions daily between themselves and someone with a mental illness even if they are not aware of it. As well, it is important to be aware that every individual has a different experience, whether or not they share similar mental illnesses.

In this project I record an interview with the participants (audio only), followed by photographing a few things. I want to photograph a place of comfort; one that has been an influence on your mindset or just a place where you have dealt with your struggles, or a place that is a safe haven. I also want to photograph the person; just a detail of oneself that does not give away your identity, unless you so choose. Lastly, I want to photograph a detail of an object that directly relates to how you cope/are learning to cope. (You can view the photographs from the interviews I have already conducted on my tumblr under the photography heading or visit my website

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