This last year has been hard on my mental health. I am not the only one. We need to talk about that. I just published a book for that conversation.
I published my third photo book that went live on Amazon yesterday. The title is Portraits of Expectations: Coping Beauty. Unlike my previous limited edition zines, this one is for a larger audience.
In the photobook I explore the contrast and beauty of people when they’re using coping skills as opposed to living under the pressures of societal expectations and stigma. I photographed seven models with various mental health conditions or neurodivergence and compared traditional directed portraits to free-form environmental portraits of them embracing the things that give them peace. I added emphasis with my own stories of struggle and peace. My purpose is to illustrate that societal expectations of people with neurodivergence or mental health struggles is homogeneity. True beauty lies in the diversity of experience and these societal expectations driven by stigma harm those who struggle.
Like my 2015 book, “Night Moves: An Ex Preachers Journey to Hell in a Taxi”, I keep the written chapters in an intimate and informal tone for those who are neurodivergent or have mental health conditions.
Why this topic as opposed to a book of fine art, street photography, or portraits?
On Veterans day of 2019, I tried to take my own life and almost succeeded. Just when I was finding my stride in socializing again, we went into shelter in place and this imposed isolation has been arduous to say the least.
In the writing of this book and photographing the subjects these last few months, I was reminded as to what I love most about writing and photography. Connection. I have been so mired in the constant battle of survival in a pandemic that I almost lost that.
My professional photography and writing is not just a passion and revenue source, this is also one of my coping skills. The thing that gets me through the dark days. I do not think of myself as a photographer and a columnist. I am a visual artist and a storyteller. Like any storyteller this is connection with others. And to you, the reader, my clients and my subjects on the streets of Chicago, I am appreciative
Is today’s article a plug for the book? Yeah. I hope you buy it, I hope you read it, and I hope you are moved by it. If you are receiving mental health care, I hope you relate to the beauty of who we are and join me in pushing back on stigma. We need to normalize therapy and part of that is to talk about it. If you do not suffer from mental health, I do hope you read it, join the conversation, and understand what the rest of us experience. .
One last thing about the book. 14% of the profits are going to NFP’s that are fighting against stigma and to normalize therapy.
You can get the book on Amazon.
If you want an autographed copy and have it bundled with art, you can get that right here at Pat Green Photography by visiting the zines page.
This new release also marks an exciting new direction for Pat Green Photography. More on that soon!
Thank you for reading.