Street Photography, Scenes. Mental Health Issues
A week ago, I wrote a post on “The Painted Men”, and in that post, I wrote about inequality and how it is rising in the world. But street photography gives you opportunities to take images you can interpret and re-interpret over the years. I shot this Painted Man many years ago, in Rome, and even then, his overall aspect of abject defeat and misery caught my attention. Since that fateful summer, we’ve gone through the sub-prime crisis and Covid-19, both of which created significant mental health issues in people.
I’d like all of you to pause a while and cast your eyes over the image. When you scrutinize it, you will see a man who appears to be at the edge of defeat and despair. His slouched body, the shoes, the angle of the legs, the bottle of liquor all point to a man who is down, and maybe suffering from severe mental health issues.
Over the last two years, we have witnessed Covid-19 ravage our bodies, societies and affect our emotional balance. I feel strongly about students whose academic careers were damaged.
I witnessed this upfront, in my family and circle of friends. My son’s board exams were interrupted, and he has gone through one and a half years of college at home. It’s been a while, and, at last, college is opening!
My daughter could not submit her final college portfolio in fashion design, and the fashion show they were to organize did not take place. The fashion industry collapsed, and she is working in a different field.
If I am to take a poll, I’d bet that many of you have similar, or (I am sure) tougher stories to tell.
I receive newsletters from Shutterstock, and in one blog post, the author mentioned people are going to prioritize mental health in 2022. Why not?
A Second Image. Invisibility with affect your mental health!
I’d like to end with another image from Rome of the same Painted Man. Please compare the two images, and you will notice a critical difference. In the first image, The Painted Man is the hero. I have focused on him. Contrast this with the second image, where I have placed him in the overall scene.
If you do a lot of street photography, you get many opportunities to observe the human condition. Further, if you talk to people on the street, you will get the chance to take part in their lives, if only for a moment.
In this second image, you may not notice him. This is how most of us view those who are downtrodden. They become invisible, because of various reasons. I will not get into this, because there is no need for me to apply pop sociological insights here. But they suffer from mental health issues more than we realize. When I was living in Bombay, I attended a seminar in which the researchers showed us that mental health issues are more prevalent in India than we often realize.
Some of you may be curious to know how I processed this image. Since I was processing many images, I did the initial conversion using Luminar AI (I am an affiliate). Then I did the monochrome conversion and toning in Nik Silver Efex Pro (I am not an affiliate). Finally, I added a copper tone, a vignette, and a burned edge effect to finish the image.