Edward Honaker

Another photographer I have researched is American, Edward Honaker. He is young and modern, and his work tackles contemporary issues of todays society. Honaker is most well known for his black and white, self portraits, illustrating what goes on in the mind of someone suffering from depression. He was diagnosed with depression at the age of 19 and used his camera to portray his inner thoughts and feelings.

His series tackling depression is simply named ‘II’, Honaker says that it is “A series which illustrates my experiences with depression and anxiety.” Anna Gragert, for ‘Hellogiggles’ wrote a text on Honakers series and stated that he wanted to “make a series to raise awareness on the topic of mental illness’.” Honakers surreal self portraits and powerful symbolism work as a beacon of empathy, and he wants to inspire others. The message behind these images is to inspire others to talk about mental illness and be more accepting of this suffering. More specifically, he wants to raise awareness for males suffering with mental illness. There is a stigma attached to men suffering with these illness’, it is a taboo subject, men are seen as week if they talk about their feelings. Gorger wrote “The National Institute of Mental Health claims that more than 6 million men cope with depression in America, yet they are less likely to recognize their symptoms – especially due to the culturally ingrained stigma that men shouldn’t talk about their feelings. Men are also less likely to admit that they’re experiencing suicidal thoughts, according to a study published in Psychology of Gender.”

Honker wrote,“I think a really helpful way to end the stigma surrounding mental illness is to be there for others who might be suffering,” Honaker emphasised. “You never really know what others may be going through so all you can really do is be kind and nonjudgemental.” This project is extremely personal to Honaker, and it is this level of personalisation that I want to achieve in my own work. Despite never having a mental illness, many people that are close to me have been affected by them. I will be influenced by Honakers work and use his style to reflect an issue that in personal to me.

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