Our next exhibition ‘ALPHA’ features 5 London-based photographers in aid of the charity CALM (The Campaign Against Living Miserably) for International Mens’ Day!
CALM aims to prevent male suicide in the UK, and offers support to men who are living with depression or are in crisis. Suicide is the single biggest killer of men aged 20-45 in the UK, and CALM aims to keep men alive by talking.
This exclusive body of work has been produced by the artists to coincide with International Men’s Day and Photomonth, the East London International Photography Festival, in an attempt to raise wider awareness of these issues.
The exhibition intends to start a dialogue about a subject often too difficult to acknowledge in today’s culture. A culture that in 2013 saw 78% of suicides in the UK carried out by males. A culture where the expectation of the stereotypical ALPHA male is relentlessly reinforced.
A mix of unknown and known faces including Gary Numan, Frank Turner and Professor Green are the subject of Scarlet Page’s portraits of men that have lived with depression or difficult life events. Captioned with imaginary words, some poignant, some comical, they highlight the emasculation men can feel when trying to express their emotions or talk about their experiences.
Helena Berg’s images of faces almost trapped or frozen underwater, including Placebo frontman Brian Molko, evoke feelings of isolation and separateness; the inability to be in action.
Jennifer Pattison’s ethereal images of her father’s artworks, made during his time in rehabilitation, reflect a personal connection between herself and these objects and in turn her relationship to his depression.
Will Morgan’s series of images, shot at dawn, are a play on ‘the darkness before the dawn’; the notion that in one’s worst moments there’s a realisation that it will pass and things will get better.
With long exposure shots at night, Peter Guenzel’s sombre landscapes highlight in photography (and depression) both the passing of time and the ever-present light.
With each of the five individual projects interpreting a particular aspect of depression or the male emotional experience, they come together as the sum of many parts, forming a broader body of work that considers mental health and its complexities – not as a precise interrogation into the stigma that surrounds mental illness, but rather an attempt to draw the viewer in as a starting point for discussion.
The ALPHA private view takes place on Thursday 19th November 7.30pm until 10pm. Refreshments will be provided, and admission is, as always, free!
The exhibition will then open to the public from Friday 20th November until Wednesday 25th November at theprintspace Gallery (74 Kingsland Road, E2 8DL)
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©Preschelle Ann Bigueras