Between 2012-13 I worked with people who experience episodes of psychosis to create these ten portraits. Whilst the people photographed here all appear entirely ‘normal’, their ability to function within society has, to varying degrees, been affected by the experience of a psychotic ‘disorder’ such as Bipolar or Schizophrenia. The grand 18th Century settings have been altered, both digitally and physically to form ‘stage sets’ for the internal experience of each person when he or she is not in consensual reality. Visual, auditory and other sensory phenomena that occur during a psychotic episode contradict accepted notions of 'reality', and yet for one person they are absolutely real. These highly constructed settings, each incorporating a view through a window and an array of significant objects, give some clue to each individual’s private world.
This work asks what we mean by reality. It also aims to reduce the stigma that surrounds those who experience mental health issues.
A book that includes statements by each participant and essays by Canadian cultural theorist, Jeanne Randolph and British psychiatrist, Professor Graham Thornicroft accompanies the photographs.