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Collecting Life Fragments through Lens

fragmentary-poster
Fragments of one’s self. Photograph by Daniel Regan during his 2015 exhibition entitled Fragmentary, a project exploring the dual perspectives of both clinicians and the artist as a mental health service user.(Photo from fragmentary.org) 

Broken, scattered pieces of oneself on the ground.

As we get older, the scars and the cracks get bigger, making it hard to deal with life and to fill the empty spaces it brings. Living with a mental illness is like having to collect broken pieces of yourself every day; you have to try your hardest in order to survive.

Daniel Regan, a photographer, and a mental health advocate talks about how he managed to collect his fragments and how he deals with his mental illness through photography.

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Daniel started to realize that he had a mental illness when he was in his teenage years because he deals with situations differently from other guys his age. He felt like he was being consumed by his emotions, making it hard to follow through everyday life. The good thing is, he discovered photography and he used it as a way of expressing himself and how he sees life and the world.

“It’s my artistic medium and what I do best. It’s also an increasingly democratic and universal creative medium that’s understood by society,” said Regan on why he chose photography as a platform for raising mental health awareness.

He loves capturing the world through a camera and he also wanted to explore mental health issues. With this hobby, Fragmentary.org was born.

Fragmentary.org is a UK based online hub of artists and photographers where they share personal photos and experiences with mental health. All of the collaborations from the online community ranges from local to international photographic projects as well as other artworks making it popular all over the globe. The site has reached a wide array of supporters, informing the public that one can heal through art.

Abandoned
An old picture attached to a slowly disintegrating wall. Daniel Regan’s work focuses on themes of emotional states, well-being, and the human condition. (Photo from fragmentary.org)

Regan shared that the blogsite’s name came from a personal project called “Fragmentary,” where he showed series of his medical records and his representations of it through photography. The project tackles the dual perspective of both the patient and clinician and the spaces between. The word fragmentary also represents the diverse fragments of human experience and stories told through art.

“I felt that as someone exploring mental health in their own work there was a lack of a community of artists exploring similar issues. I wanted to create something that felt safe and a creative hub for artists to share very personal work and experiences,” Regan explained.

Aside from showcasing photographs and interviews, Regan together with his fellow artists and photographers, gather once in a while to conduct mental health-themed exhibits and events. The gatherings are informal and open to anyone who wants to share their thoughts and ideas regarding art and mental health.

While pursuing their love for the craft, Fragmentary.org also plays an important role in educating the public about mental health issues. According to Regan, five years from now, he sees the organization as a fully developed hub of artists working in different ways to understand and express mental health.

Through photography and helping others find their way through life with the same art, Regan feels more stable and hopeful now. He is slowly gathering back the pieces he lost during his teenage years, understanding himself and his illness better through his lens.

Now, the pieces are in his hands. He keeps trying and waiting for the day for it to be whole again.

To see more photographs and artworks at Fragmentary.org, click here

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