As I learned to deal with, and to a certain extent emerged from debilitating depression, anxiety and agoraphobia, I developed a keen interest in photography. I started with a cheap ‘pen cam’, which doubled as a webcam, video and still photo camera (should that be tripled?). Then went on to a Vivitar point and shoot. Those early days, I took some ok snaps. I progressed then to a ‘bridge’ camera – not quite a point and shoot, but still a camera with a fixed lens. That was a FujiFilm Finepix camera, which I still have – for a bridge camera, the zoom factor of 30x is a very attractive feature. There came a point when I wanted still more ‘creativity’ at my finger tips, and was given a very special Christmas present last year of a Nikon D3100 starter kit. Since then my interest has grown more and more.
As a part of my well-being ‘safety net’, it has been an amazing adventure. Thinking about the reclusive nature of depression and anxiety, the motivation to do something – to get out there and create something you can enjoy looking at, something that can recapture memories of the everydays as well as the special and more memorable days – that motivation has proved a real life saver for me.
Then of course, as a hobby, it gets you out of the house. So it has provided a further motivation to get out and confront the phobia. I used to constantly listen to music on an mp3 player to get myself out – music and the privacy of the headphones were like a safety bubble in which I could immerse myself. As the photography hobby has progressed and I have, I hope, got better at it, I have gradually used the headphones less and less. I have started talking to people at events, other keen photographers, talked about the flora and fauna in the local parks. I’ve gone to more places of interest too.
I’ve lived in Liverpool for 15 years and until just a couple of years ago, never really knew what an amazing city it is, with all the rich variety of places of interest and events we have here. Photography has got me exploring and realizing that the world out there is not such a hostile place as I used to think in my darkest days.
Marc Fraser, 2015