One in four people suffer from a mental illness, but it is still extremely misrepresented in stock photography. I've always admired Refinery29 for placing a high value on sharing the real women's experience in their imagery and articles. Now they're teaming up with photographer Flora Maclean to confront the poor portrayal of mental illness in stock imagery by creating their own. Refinery explains in their article that when you Google search "depression stock photos" the results are predominantly white men who look like they have a headache.
Not only did Refinery want to expand the subjects shown in mental health-related stock content, but they also aim to reflect depression, anxiety, and mood disorders through actual feelings opposed to the currently untreatable cliche content. To represent the feelings of different mental illness Maclean used various lighting, makeup, and set techniques. The team came up with the concepts after asking readers how mental illness truly felt to them.
I love how the project turned out and think it is a great example of what mental health in stock photography needs to transition towards. Have any of you taken images to portray mental illness in creative ways?
Lead image by Gabrielle Colton