Saturday, August 22, 2015

Photographer documents her stay at a mental hospital with haunting self-portraits

Most documentary projects about mental illness reveal someone else's behavior, but Laura Hospes took a very different approach: the Dutch photographer documented her stay at a psychiatric ward and with her raw, striking and sometimes unbearable black and white self-portraits reveals the reality of what it's like to recover from anxiety, depression and eating disorder following a suicide attempt.

The project, which Laura called UCP-UMCG, (named after the hospital in which she stayed) earned her a spot on LensCulture's list of 50 best emerging photographers for 2015 in the LensCulture Emerging Talent Awards. One picture shows her staring blankly ahead while clad in a sleeveless shirt. In another, she is depicted lying on a bed, half naked.

"At first, I made this complete series for myself, to deal with the difficulties and express my feelings,” she told The Mighty. "After that, I want to inspire people who are or have been in a psychiatric hospital. I want them to see my pictures and recognize themselves in it. I hope they feel taken seriously, less crazy and less alone."

Laura said that her fascination with how social media only shows our best moments as opposed to displaying our worst sides as well was what led her into creating these images. On her website, the 21-year-old student writes: "Nowadays she makes self portraits to connect with the world around her, to make clear what she feels deep on the inside."

You can learn more about Laura and her art here.

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