“Firsthand Accounts” is a photo series that portrays stories of ordinary people from all walks of life. This project offers a voice to the voiceless — unique individuals seeking to share lessons from their life experiences. In turn, these lessons, or “accounts” will serve as “firsthand” evidence to bridge a connection with a wider audience. All personal anecdotes documented in this series were organically collected through chance encounters in downtown Austin, Texas.
The following digital collages intend to question outdated social and cultural norms and behaviors, and stimulate a critical conversation leading to change by liberating human experience from the boundaries of conformism. The artist draws inspiration from music, society, literature, ukio-e, and sci-fi; and often repurposes lighthearted vintage imagery to explore themes such as feminism, mental health, and human interactions.
The following personal history piece focuses on the author’s journey in the mental healthcare system, through both psychiatry and psychotherapy. It also deals with how stigmatizing and detrimental the system (and the world) can be to those with mental illnesses. This memoir-style essay tells the story of the author’s illness like it’s the big bad wolf, and walks the reader with her on the journey to coping with it. It’s a piece that not only talks about the author’s individual reality, but also the greater reality of the world of psychology, psychiatry, and mental illness.
Dissociation is an experience of human existence that affects one’s sense of identity or perception of time, and can create a feeling of disconnection from one’s thoughts, feelings, and surroundings. How does a dissociated state impact our youth, our development, or (more integrally) our personalities?
Is the impulse to commit suicide born of anger and aggression or desperation and fear? Can we make a generalizable claim regarding the reasons an individual takes his/her own life? Do we ever really understand the things we do, or are we just rationalizing our actions and the actions of others after the fact?
Are we benefiting from mental health diagnoses, medications, and treatments? Or, is the current mental health industry causing more harm than healing? How do we accurately deal with psychological distress?
Can extreme religious behavior or ideation be considered an addiction in the same way drug and substance abuse is? How can this categorization affect the way we understand mental health issues?
Is depression something we have or something we are?
How is a person defined? Is there a construct that accurately addresses the complexity of personhood?