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About Gemma's work
“Gimme Shelter”, widely known as the popular Rolling Stones song, but to me it’s much more than a song. I listen to the Rolling Stones when I’m suffering with my mental health which is the main subject of this series. I wanted to depict mental health in a more positive light. Mental health doesn’t have to be sinister, dull or a taboo subject. People who suffer with mental health problems are not ‘sad’ all the time. I suffer quite badly with anxiety, depression and PTSD, sometimes I feel like I’m going mad inside my own head and sometimes I have to be brave and survive.
The images I have created are a visual representation of those mental health experiences. I wanted to use as much vivid colour in my images as possible, to oppose the stigma that mental health is negative. The series is split into two sets of portraits. The first represents madness, loss of control and anxiety. The second set represents survival. The colours represent the emotional scars that wouldn’t usually be seen. My aim was to create beautiful, aesthetically pleasing portraits to bring mental health to light.