Oldham Photographers Opens Shutters on Mental Health.
Oldham Photographer Lisa Marie Gee (47), proprietor of Studio G Photography, is set to open her first exhibition in the community space at Gallery Oldham in September.
The exhibition, entitled Open Shutters, is a series of photographic portraits of men and women who live with a range mental health issues. As well as summoning up the confidence to talk about their mental health, the subject of every portrait says that they have turned their illness into a positive.
We are very proud to be supporting the Open Shutter’s project and can’t wait to attend a brilliant community day on World Mental Health Day at the gallery as well – on the 10th October. We’ll be there with information about our services, engaging and interactive workshops, as well as answering your questions, and being there to see the powerful images.
The idea for the project came from Lisa’s own experience of a breakdown and her ongoing battle with depression and anxiety. Lisa said:
“I think the changing climate, in which talking about mental illness is becoming more and more acceptable, is fantastic, and I’d like to pay tribute to the leadership shown by Princes William and Harry in this area. However, I wanted to take it even further, and show that from the undeniable sadness and challenges of mental illness can come new strength, changes in direction, and greater empathy for the suffering of others.”
The portrait subjects say they found taking part and knowing they are not alone beneficial. Acoustic Consultant Susan Witterick, from Dobcross, said:
“This is great. I think even just being able to talk about mental illness is a huge step forward but being able to say it’s been a positive in our lives - that’s huge. It could offer hope to so many who are struggling.”
And Sarah Wait from Royton, a barrister currently seeking pupillage, added:
“I feel like I’m in a gang for the first time in my life.”
Lisa is currently looking for more volunteers to take part in the project.
“We want the project to represent all parts of society. So far, we don’t have any portraits of people from the Asian community and we’d like to be able to put that right.”
Anyone interested in Open Shutters can contact Studio G Photography at openshutters [at] studiog-oldham.co.uk or ring 0161 300 6224.