I used to carry a huge Polaroid camera around my neck everywhere I went, even though there was no film left in it.
I would go around looking through the lens and take my pictures. I’ve always loved how you can capture a moment, a memory, a person, a place and keep them forever. I’ve always been the man behind the camera, rather than in front it for many reasons. For a lot of my life, I was a victim of domestic violence; physical and mental bullying and a victim of sexual assault that brought me to such a dark and intense place, I didn’t leave the house for almost 4 years. It’s taken me almost 12 years to understand what happened to me growing up and understand my emotional and mental health. But one thing I never lost during all these hard and traumatic times was my love of art, photography as well as a sense of humour and how I see the beauty in everyday things.
When the opportunity came to submit my work to the Northern Ireland Mental Health Artfest, I never thought that my pieces would be chosen but I’m proud to say that they were! I’m very grateful and appreciative that I get the chance to share them with everyone. The reason I chose these photographs and how I shot them is to represent my identity as a creative, young gay man with a passion for art and photography. The photos represent me in many ways; the water because I’m an Aquarius; tattoos as a way of expression; the glitter, colours and eye focus to subtly show my personality and sexuality in this day and age.
I know life can kick you in the gut many times but we, as humans, are very resilient. There’s been times in my life were I couldn’t imagine living another day but now I’ve gotten myself to a place where I understand my mental health and how I see the world and know that tomorrow is always another day. It may not seem like it at the time, but after the storm there’s always a rainbow? Keep fighting for you, never take a backseat emotionally or mentally or creatively for anything or one!
Check out the festival: https://www.nimhaf.org
~ Cameron, MACS young person