Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Let's talk

We have become more social than ever, in a digital speaking way. On average we spent around 120 minutes per day on social media. Facebook and Instagram are the favourite platforms, but are we social? Countless articles speak about the real problem about social media, and how, far from connecting people, these platforms promote psychological states of distress, anxiety and depression. We tend to show rather than the real lives we have, the ones we aspire or desire, or also feeling frustration seeing the ‘success’ that our peers accomplish in life by judging the pics they post on their social profiles. But the truth is that just a few people speak openly about real emotions or how we feel, or even worse many people do not face the fact that there is an emotional problem that needs to be addressed.

Last Friday I went to Regent Park, with the specific purpose to visit the exhibition ‘Let’s Talk’, a photography project campaign that aims to open the conversation about mental health. The idea was to put literally in words the most dreadful thoughts of people in their faces. The photographed people are persons who have passed mental health difficulties. Charlie Clift, the photographer, worked with the people who volunteered for this project. He interviewed them and selected the words that best described their feelings. Lettering artist, Kate Forrester, has the assignment to transfer these sentiments in their bodies. She spent at least two hours of hand-lettering these words onto the people’s faces. Then Charlie photographed them in a session full of openness and conversation about the struggles of life, their passions and hopes.

The result is a series of beautiful and honest big format portraits photography. The exhibition looks to inspire other people to talk openly about mental health. It now has become an itinerary exhibition that travels around different areas of London spreading awareness, encouraging people to speak out and to get help.

The project contemplates all the aspects that make it a successful campaign. The exhibition in Regent park consisted of a group of big format panels of photography allocated in a way that people would transit around the installation. A video production that records the process of painting the volunteer’s faces and their opinions about mental health perpetuates in the website specially created for the campaign.

The successful campaign is the result of a collaboration between the two artists and the support of Mental Health UK which is taking the exhibition to different open spaces where more people will be able to appreciate this work.

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