A mental illness awareness project

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Recently, one of my colleagues from Med School approached me and asked me if I wanted to help her with a charity project she was running: raising funds for a few orphans with certain disabilities. This center in our town is full of benevolent people but the funding (as with most of the things here) are very low and some of the proper medical equipment and staff but they do what they can for these poor souls.
As my friend was directing the mental illness department in the Med School’s society, I got the idea of illustrating this in a small staged photoshoot. What followed was an interesting experience, with all the models having no previous experience and improvising on the way. Enjoy!

Rock concerts and the Journey

So on Saturday, June 25th, I attended the Lake of Tears concert in Bucharest held on the Roman Arenas, along with Amine and some 3000 other people. Getting to Bucharest from my town requires a 4 hour train trip during which, most of the time, you become bored as hell. Having an exam hang above your head the following day isn’t the most tranquil thought either. It seems I have a thing with trains and shooting out from them because every time I hope on one, I keep clicking that shutter button like crazy and find numerous subjects with every new kilometer unfolding. This time, the landscape section took over as some morning , wet clouds floated close to earth and predicted a new storm coming, while the crops of various grain stretched across Romania’s biggest Plain.  
And with all that beautiful imagery, when we reached Bucharest, it was all about to rain as we started heading towards the concert location.
Now, even though I am not a teenager anymore, I still get excited every time one of my favorite bands has a concert. I jump, sing and scream and, at the end of it, I feel like every muscle in my body cries in pain, my throat is useless while notes from every song, the crowd singing and clapping and the general atmosphere of joy and overflowing energy will remain in my memory as one of the most amazing experiences ever (which is normal, for an audiophile like me).

The one thing I regret, though is that they didn’t allow us to bring cameras to the concert and I was limited to cell phone shots which can’t be held accountable as true photographic evidence due to poor quality, but they’re perfect for that personal album in which you store all these memories and sometimes you open to refresh the feeling.

Static

It happens more and more these days. People become…static.
They keep saying the world is alert and fast, that hundreds of gigabytes of information crosses our minds everyday, that people become batteries. Somehow, I feel that all we can be is vessels for this flow of action, dynamic and particle torrents. This, and nothing more.

How many of us wake up just burning to start a new day, full of unknown, discovery and excitement? Kids, maybe, but even they resort to burying their young and untrained minds in simplistic or numbing actions like the absolute useless school program, shallow cartoons that promote senseless violence (remember Tom & Jerry…anyone? no? How about Disney Classics?) or dwell into the attractions of modern technology and would rather play a round of Call of Duty on XBOX than building a tree house.

As for the adults, they spend their young years partying and “living the life” (a.k.a being under the influence 80% of the time) while later they struggle in a society that offers no place for the one that doesn’t fit the patterns : docile and willing to work and be lead by someone in a higher position using fear, money, religion or some other form of power.

Therefore, being a vessel, a carrier for others needs, visiting the world’s greatest museums just so they can brag about it, or simply considering that one’s purpose here is to live this life as well as possible or with fewer losses qualifies one as static.

Crooked Reality

Perhaps one of my most right-in-front-your-eyes photo, I have ever taken.
Perhaps, because it has always been there, yet I somehow failed to notice the effect, even though it was a common sight on my way back home from school.
And it made me wonder…how many of us live their lives in complete ignorance to the reality around us? How many retire in a fantasy, distorted, kinder, simpler world, where things are closer to perfect, where the equation needs no adjustments and laws apply for ideal bodies?

In a (third world) country like Romania, where surviving each day is a new victory, I have seen this phenomenon happen so often that it’s hard to name but a few handful of people I know, that live their lives according to principles of freedom when most struggle between getting eaten alive by the system and trying to beat arteriosclerosis and perhaps a stroke by the age of 34 due to stress and the uncertainty of tomorrow, and put a smile on from time to time.
As personal introspection, I tried, for a few weeks after shooting this, to stop from my infernal hellride I call daily life and take a closer look behind (like seeing the details when a process is on a slow-mo camera).
And you know, it’s not all bad.
Sometime you just need to relax, and let certain things slide and, to quote Bobby McFerrin, “don’t worry, be happy”.
Because otherwise frustration will get the best of you and you will start wanting a way out, to break the circle of monotony, something to pull the cloth off your eyes and take a look at the sky and actually understand yet this will come in the form of a surrogate relief such as drugs, alcohol or a certain other addiction that only appears to be healing the wounds. It is the society that pushes us to live like zombies, carrying out orders for those higher in rank, breaking the spirit, diluting the individual and making us more docile and malleable.
Have you noticed how easily people get entertained today? A cat video on YouTube, a simple and addictive game on Facebook… MMORPGs have taken the toll and rise to the rank of vice today, eating more time and health than many others, such as smoking or drinking.
It’s only because people need a way out, but caught in the tornado of things that “must be done” and without proper guidance, they stumble hesitantly in the dark, blind, cold and discouraged.
So, next time, open your eyes and break reality down to the puzzle pieces, to the atoms and squeeze out the “carpe diem” to feed the marrow of your spirit!