Kimberly Kizzia Hopes We Can Understand Mental Health in a Better Way


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“I wished to normalize the feelings that I and so many others really feel,” says photographer Kimberly Kizzia in regards to the psychological struggles she and numerous others expertise each day. Acknowledgment and acceptance of psychological well being points are sadly not that widespread at this time. However Kimberly started a long-term picture challenge which she hopes will assist others see issues they weren’t conscious of.

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For a really lengthy interval of my youth, I used to be unaware of how points like despair would have an effect on individuals. It wasn’t one thing I discovered about; the final concept was that it was simply one other temper. But it surely wasn’t, as I discovered later when a buddy opened up about his each day struggles with it. For three years or so, he struggled each day. Among the signs and patterns he described I personally skilled at numerous occasions in my very own life. And I typically puzzled why I didn’t acknowledge this after I skilled it. Was it as a result of I used to be conditioned to suppose psychological well being points have been only a section? Or as a result of, as younger adults, we weren’t taught the right way to determine these points in others and even in ourselves. The stigma round such matters nonetheless exists in society, and we have a tendency not to consider such issues as points that may or have already got affected us. Understanding and sympathizing with others who battle with these issues is step one. And never subconsciously outcasting them is one thing we must be cautious about.

The Important Picture Gear Utilized by Kimberly Kizzia


Kimberly advised us:

I’m a Canon woman myself, I at the moment use a Canon EOS R, with my Canon 24-70mm f/2.8 lens as my workhorse.

The Phoblographer: Please inform us about your self and the way you bought into photography.

Kimberly Kizzia: Hi there, my identify is Kimberly Kizzia. I’ve been a working photographer in some fashion or one other since I used to be 16 years outdated after I was employed at a neighborhood portrait studio. I’ve had a ardour for photography since I used to be a younger child- continually taking photographs at any likelihood, I had of objects, pals, nature, and many others. I didn’t discover my ardour for portrait photography till I used to be in highschool although. That’s after I started to discover self-portraits in addition to portraits of my pals, relations, and finally strangers.

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The Phoblographer: This might be painful to reply, however when did you notice documenting your private struggles with Bipolar Dysfunction was one thing you wished to do?

Kimberly Kizzia: I began photographing my struggles with psychological well being in highschool however stopped exploring it by round 2006 or so after I began venturing out by myself and finally grew to become pregnant a couple of years later and took fairly a while off self-portraits. I didn’t start to re-explore psychological well being photography till 2020 when through the starting of the pandemic, I spotted how many individuals have been combating their psychological well being. There was a have to visually doc not solely my very own struggles with psychological well being however that of others as properly. For simply over a yr, I discovered stability of remedy and remedy, and the challenge was as soon as once more placed on the again burner till this March, after I skilled a depressive episode that lasted a few month and a half. Throughout that point, I made a decision I’d doc myself throughout my darkest hours.

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The Phoblographer: What do you purpose to attain out of this documentation?

Kimberly Kizzia: I hoped that the extra I confirmed the ache and vacancy that I used to be feeling, the extra I’d assist individuals who don’t battle with their psychological well being really see the results of psychological sickness in a visible kind and, in flip break some stigma that’s connected to it. I wished to normalize the feelings that I and so many others really feel.

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The Phoblographer: Has this interfered along with your skilled photography assignments?

Kimberly Kizzia: In my day-to-day life, I’m a household and boudoir photographer, and despair made it practically unattainable for me to community, attain out, promote or tackle new assignments. I misplaced the motivation and inventive spark that retains a photographer hungry for work.

Thank Your Meds

The Phoblographer: There may be undoubtedly a significance within the unclothed self-portraits. Inform us about these and the way they resonate along with your emotions and experiences.

Kimberly Kizzia: Once I first began that challenge, which I dubbed “Documenting Melancholy,” I felt strongly that the nudity was to represent the nakedness required to be sincere and open about psychological well being struggles. So typically we attempt to disguise behind our facades and faux that nothing is mistaken, so to me, being unclothed was an in-your-face instance of a unadorned look in my thoughts. I bought a number of flack from sure individuals, saying it was attention-seeking or took away from the challenge itself, however I disagree fully. With a view to really present the uncooked feelings I used to be feeling, I needed to first strip away preconceptions each figuratively and actually. The expressions and physique language in these photos have been finest displayed with out being hidden behind clothes–or individuals’s notions of what despair appears to be like like.


The Phoblographer: It have to be difficult to {photograph} this whereas experiencing overwhelming emotions. Do you run the digicam by way of an intervalometer and let it doc your feelings over a time period?

Kimberly Kizzia: I’m fortunate that my husband and kids allowed me to depart my digicam and tripod arrange in our front room for weeks, simply shifting it round periodically relying on my power and emotions that day. Once I sometimes take a self-portrait, I’ll take 50-200 photos seeking the one which I like finest. I’m a perfectionist and overly vital of myself on any given day. Nevertheless, throughout this challenge, I’d doc 1-20 photos and allow them to communicate for themselves. I used to be not searching for perfection throughout that span of time; I used to be solely involved about capturing the temper of the day. I exploit the Canon Join app with a timer as a distant for my self-portraits which has its benefits and drawbacks however permits me to {photograph} myself with out shifting myself or my digicam a lot.

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The Phoblographer: Bringing out these experiences by way of photos can’t be all that simple. No picture can probably illustrate what your thoughts is experiencing 100%. However have you ever observed a gentle enchancment over these years in how your photos mirror what you bear?

Kimberly Kizzia: I undoubtedly suppose how I specific myself by way of my self-portraits has improved over time. As with all ardour, the extra you follow, the higher your abilities are. But, I’ve revisited concepts I initially had many years in the past and nonetheless don’t really feel like I’m able to seize them to the fullest. This has a wide range of causes, although principally resulting from limitations similar to my present dwellings not being probably the most photogenic of locations. I’ve spent the previous few years squeezing out any ounce of inventive use of my environment. One other factor I battle with is attempting to seize the essence of my moods, even when I’m not experiencing them at the moment. After my most up-to-date depressive episode, I stabilized and but wished to {photograph} the companion collection I dubbed “Mania and Me.” This collection was necessary to me as a result of I wished to point out what the opposite facet of bipolar dysfunction can appear like. After all, not everybody experiences mania the identical method, but it surely did spark some attention-grabbing conversations about moods and mania.


The Phoblographer: Produce other victims contacted you after seeing your work and requested you to doc their struggles too?

Kimberly Kizzia: I’ve had fairly a couple of individuals attain out to me as soon as I began posting these photos publicly. It has touched my coronary heart the tales that folks share with me about their struggles and successes. It appears that evidently my willingness to share my very own experiences offers individuals an opportunity to mirror on their very own psychological well being and permits them to really feel some sense of solace realizing that somebody on the market has struggled with comparable issues. I’ve been fortunate to {photograph} individuals with completely different psychological diseases as properly. These individuals have allowed me to interview them for fairly a while the place we bond over tales and signs then I analysis their sickness, and I’ve photographed them of their atmosphere in ways in which visually inform a narrative of their signs. I began doing this through the top of the pandemic although, and I’d prefer to return to this explicit side of my challenge quickly, as working with my friends is, in a method, very cathartic for each me and them.

So typically we attempt to disguise behind our facades and faux that nothing is mistaken

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The Phoblographer: Does doing photography assist calm your emotions after going by way of episodes of psychological anguish and panic assaults?

Kimberly Kizzia: Doing what I really like undoubtedly helps me deal with one thing exterior of my head. It will get the gears delivering a unique course, so to talk. It’s not an answer by any means, but it surely positive beats going for a run!

Sensory Overload

The Phoblographer: What message would you prefer to ship to others who’re going by way of the identical expertise as you? How can photographers assist unfold the attention of psychological well being issues?

Kimberly Kizzia: Whereas being open and sincere along with your psychological well being might be uncomfortable, I believe that discovering someone- a neighborhood or a friend- to share with is pertinent to remain steady. I rely rather a lot on my pals and neighborhood to help me in occasions of want. Personally, I’ve discovered that being true to myself has opened a number of doorways for me and been a driving drive for me to take care of my stability. Psychological well being takes work, however realizing that I’ve impacted even one individual with my photos is sufficient for me to maintain going. Different photographers can doc their very own signs and feelings as properly; I like to see how different individuals are capable of specific their private challenges. As somebody with aphantasia, I’m a really literal individual and interpret mine in a simple fashion, so I’d like to see what individuals with extra lively imaginations provide you with. There’s a number of room within the photography neighborhood for individuals to discover themselves and others, and I imagine that psychological well being photography is a vital step towards breaking the stigmas that encompass it.


All photos by Kimberly Kizzia. Used with permission. Take a look at her web site and her Instagram and Twitter pages to see extra of her photography.

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