Personally suffering from insomnia, depression and anxiety, this book was both an emotional and artistic outlet for my catharsis. The book was centred around the most common questions I’ve received about my unfortunate medical history, such as “How does it feel like to have insomnia?”. The photographs parallel my inner thoughts dealing with insomnia on a daily basis in 4 parts alongside my journey over 5 years. Most photographs include Xenia (model) alone, or accompanied by copies of her. This artistic direction was taken to convey my loneliness where those who try to empathise can only sympathise as an outsider. Everything was also shot, edited and compiled with extreme lack of sleep over 1.5 weeks to achieve the most emotional and aesthetically dreamlike edits I can muster.
The accompanying playlist heavily features lo-fi songs to add to the dreamlike quality of the themes dealt in the book. It's definitely also an opportunity for me to share my interest and taste in music!
The first chapter, “HELP”, deals with my frequent bouts of derealisation from the lack of sleep, where I feel as though I am not in control of my body, in a floating state of mind physically and emotionally. My biggest desires are also projected such as sleeping in public when I’m lethargic, which I am hampered from achieving due to social norms, my fear of judgement, and everyone’s worst nightmare – STOMP. It deals more with the immediate thoughts and effects.
“BAD THOUGHTS” carries on chronologically where the feelings of loneliness and struggle to accept misfortune culminated in my depression and anxiety, exacerbated by mounting pressure from school and guilt from burdening my family in medical expenses. The book transitions into a paler and darker colour scheme complementing the overarching theme.
“ACCEPTANCE” in itself is self-explanatory in my expulsion of wallowing in self-pity and angst to trying to move on, emphasis on trying as illustrated by the still-existent chains and dark scheme.
“MEDICINE” is my current experience with insomnia alongside fortunately dampened versions of the previous chapter due to sleeping aids and anti-depression medication. I chose a brighter, more contrasted and comparatively saturated aesthetic to show this coping mechanism as artificial and too perfect to be true. This is due to the fact that i receive questions such as ‘why don’t you take medication regularly then?’ frequently, not knowing the harm it can lay on the body with risks of immunity and constantly facing stronger and more side-effect prone medication, definitely not an one-stop cure.