under the surface


Anxiety and Depression are topics that are coming up more and more in our society nowadays and that have accompanied me at least for the past few years, with the people I have met and friends I have made. Having people in my life who are able to talk about their feelings is wonderful and makes it easier to understand what they are going through, even though you might think they are fine. However there are still many people out there who feel alone with their mental illness and are less confident about opening up to others.

In December 2017 I attended the Silence Awareness residency program at Arteles Creative Center in Finland, which helped me to focus on my project during cold silent winter days. Under the surface is an idea that seeks to capture the different stages and feelings of people going through depression and anxiety in a very abstract way.

The simplicity of the Finnish landscapes in combination with a naked body and a broken mirror shows how transparent feelings can be and how vulnerable they can make you feel. The photographic series is open for interpretation, as mental illness is something very personal and can look different for each individual. The series shows photos that are open and accessible for everyone and gives the observer time and space to keep thinking about the topic.


The final product was a photo book that shows the different topics "anxiety", "depression" and "growth". Due to the complex topic and the fact that the process having a mental illness isn't a steady Up and Down, the chapters are not seperated in a normal kind of way. All of the topics melt into one story about the change of a body while feeling lonely, scared, angry, numb, tired and confused.

© 2018, Annika Hillmann. All rights reserved. Impressum