During the IoPSymposium2018 at Falmouth University, I took some time out to take part in fellow student Dayana Marconi’s photographic project, I Can Hear You Now.
Featured in the student magazine, The Falmouth Anchor, her work was described as follows:
The mission of her work is to prove that photography can be used as a tool for psychological research and to investigate the inner world of the portrayed individuals and viewers. By enhancing empathy through observation and the analysis of the photograph and the meaning behind the art. This project is born to respond to a personal need for the author, who suffers from Anxiety Disorder and with it, panic attacks. During these episodes, she often feels the urge to scream in attempts nullify her pain. But she’s never had the chance to release that inner pressure, since our lives are so micro-managed by societal norms.
The author and her sitters opened themselves to the world, creating a constructive visual dialogue about topics still considered a ‘taboo’ like mental health and social problems, by following these same emotional processes. Hence the act of screaming becomes a cathartic release of this pent-up negativity. As such, facial expressions and body-movements is left for the observer to interpret.
This body of work is multifaceted and made of “Sequences”; still images with a contact-sheet structure, that depict the whole emotional process. And “Confrontation sheets” are photographs confronting two different screams of the same individual and accompanied by a brief text that identify those emotions but that do not explain what emotion corresponds to what portrait. This is to enhance the participatory approach of viewers that are asked to observe and interpret. Concluding with a series of videos approaching the subject matter from different perspectives.
When Dayana asked me to take part, at first I was a little dubious. At that time I was in a very positive place and to conjure up how I had felt during a recent difficult time in my life was quite a challenge.
For me, had I known Dayana in 2016 and into 2017 I would have struggled less to muster the emotions I had felt, caused by the actions of others (not friends or family who were an incredible support network for me).
But we talked a little and although I have put this episode of my life behind me, it is actually still quite raw at times.
The situation that triggered my ‘scream’ for Dayana represents feelings of self-doubt caused by the actions of another and the anger I felt because they had caused so much unnecessary strife.
I spoke about how this affected my mental health, and, certainly for some time, changed how I saw myself and the world in After the MA.
I truly hope that Dayana’s project can help mental health have parity of esteem with physical health. The more we can talk about it, the less need is there for anyone to ever feel as though it is somehow shameful or weak to need to ask for mental health support.
It also does feel good to let it all go by screaming – just hope we didn’t surprise too many folk on the campus that day.
Day by Day Dayana. Available at: https://daybydaydayana.wordpress.com/2018/05/06/i-can-hear-you-now-old-patterns-new-images/ [accessed May 9, 2018]