Photographer Explores Her Depression With Vulnerable Self-Portraits
Photographer Aleksandra Stone came to the United States as a refugee in 1998 after fleeing to Germany from a war-torn country formerly known as Yugoslavia. But despite being what she calls “an active participate of the American dream,” with a new life in Kentucky and a college education, she was still fighting a war inside her own head: depression.
Now, she channels depression and self-scrutiny into a series of bizarre and vulnerable self-portraits, which she calls an “intimate glimpse into my daily struggles with guilt, anxiety, fear and melancholy.”
She hopes her photographs will start a dialogue about the prevalence of mental health issues in society.
“My presence behind the camera has instilled me with a sense of purpose, and given voice to a narrative for which I otherwise lacked words,” she told The Mighty in an email.
For example, one of her photographs (below), represents the psychological stress of being what the world expects us to be, despite feeling differently inside, Stone says. “By utilizing mirror fragments as a sort of camouflage, this photo depicts a coping strategy employed as a means of reflecting back on to the world the very things expected of the individual,” she said. “It’s a conflict we’re all familiar with.”
In another photograph (below), she says she was drawn to a landscape where it’s impossible to tell how much terrain the subject has covered and how much she has left to go. “Living with depression tends to feel akin to trudging through a race just to receive the participation prize,” she said. “For individuals such as myself there is no trophy at the finish line.”
Besides giving her depression a voice, Stone said the work keeps her mind busy — an important aspect in her recovery. “Depression tends to feel akin to swimming in an ocean with no sight of land,” she said. “You may tread, swim, or float, but no matter which method you chose, survival requires a constant effort.”
See more from Stone’s self-portrait collection below: