One of the first things I wanted to do when I was finally able to buy myself a new camera was make a start on a project I’ve had in mind for quite some time. As most of you know I do a lot of work on Bipolar Disorder and working towards raising awareness of mental health issues. Mental illness is extremely difficult to understand, not only for those who have it, but for their friends, family, and the other people in their lives.
Ignorance and stigma are constant enemies when you have a mental health illness.
I do a lot of writing around mental health and themes and messages concerning mental health awareness often find their way into my fiction. I’m an avid journaller, and write for my own peace of mind daily.
But not everyone likes to read. Not everyone enjoys fiction, and even if they do not everyone enjoys my fiction.
So how could I explain to people the nature of Bipolar Disorder without using words?
The answer, of course, was to use images.
For a long while I’ve been planning a series of self-portraits that use a similar blending of fantasy and reality as my fiction to depict Bipolar and mental illness in a visual form.
Last week I was finally able to make a start of that series, beginning with two image sets shot in Wales, on my favourite beach on the island of Anglesey. I’m still editing the images produced, but for now I wanted to share with you a behind the scenes look at the shoot, including the props and clothes worn, and a short video I filmed on the day.
A full post detailing the image will follow when I release the image itself, for now though, enjoy!
For these shots I needed a dress that was pure Gothic decadence, something that really reflected an elaborate and deep descent into the dark.
This was complicated somewhat by my current size. I’m a UK size 26 at the moment, and finding the kind of dress I needed in a size that would fit properly wasn’t easy. Fortunately, The Gothic Shop have a much wider range of genuinely plus sized (i.e. not clothes in a size 14-16 that are called ‘Plus) than the majority of places, and we were able to settle on one of several possibilities.
In addition to the dress, The Gothic Shop were also kind enough to provide the titular necklace I wore for the shoot ‘Bella Morte’ is Italian and literally means ‘beautiful death’. The original title for the first of these shoots was ‘A Beautiful Death’, so the necklace was utterly perfect for the shot.
In addition to the clothing there were two props I needed, both for the first shots. I made these myself (details on how I did this to come in later posts), and they consisted of a pair of demonic horns, and a lantern.I’ll be back later in the week with details on how these were made, as well as the final images themselves. For now though, head on over to Instagram and follow my new account for daily memes, updates, and progress shots on all my projects!