Hey folks! Hope you are all well. Today I’m sharing with you a wonderful interview I did with Joe Sheridan, who is a freelance photographer and videographer, hailing from Manchester here in the UK. One of his projects he works on aims to promote mental health, and I had the pleasure of getting to know him and his work a bit more! You even have a wonderful peek at some of the shots Joe has done for his project dedicated to mental health. Hope you all enjoy! ❤
1. Tell me a little bit about yourself!
My name is Joe; I’m 24 years of age and currently hail from Manchester. I guess you could say I’m a musician, I like to write music almost everyday, sometimes even in my dreams I conjure up chord progressions and lyrics, it never stops! Besides that my past degrees, especially politics has inspired me ironically to be interested psychology, and led me to the author Simon Baron Choen and his series of books on the human mind. You could say many things easily inspire me.
2. What inspired you to start photography?
I got started with photography almost two years ago now. I got started by basically using an old iPhone around the summer of 2013, and I steadily became more interested in capturing compositions. Shortly after the summer that year, my dad and myself pooled our money together to buy an old Pentax Film SLR, and I absolutely loved using it. From then on for Christmas that year my dad lent me his Pentax KX DSLR, eventually I commandeered it and found that I loved photography by accident really. Since then I guess you could say I have amassed an amount of experience that has seen me photography gigs in and around Manchester, from small pubs, to small concert venues to the largest in Manchester. All in all I am very lucky, these opportunities have been of a consequence of hard work, but the one thing I always try to do is persevere, always get better and hone my craft.
3. What are your favourite aspects of photography?
I love the moment when you capture an emotion in the subject, because when you look through the viewfinder and see something special about the composition, it just brings something out in me that I can really on describe as something that makes me very happy.
4. Is there anything particular you like to shoot? And why?
I like in particular when I capture human emotion, there is something in the way that when a face is contorted, especially in a live concert setting, it can be something quite special to capture. In general though, in any environment light can be a huge factor, most notably I enjoy composing subjects in silhouettes whether that be from natural or manufactured light.
5. You have an ongoing project promoting awareness of the affects of mental health. Tell me more about it!
Well I got my inspiration was from a photographer called Adam Elmakias and the illustrations he did with some portraits for a band called Citizen. The link can be found here – http://www.adamelmakias.com/live/photos-of-citizen-at-warped-tour/
The band themselves have been quite autobiographical in their music, especially on a release called ‘Youth’; the lyrics themselves are quite emotional. When I saw them used with these portraits that said photographer took I was instantly struck by how the context for the lyrics, and the photos worked together perfectly. It was so seamless how they fit together, and I’d never seen it done before either.
From then on, to this past October is when the idea came to me. As to why I chosen this project, I guess like many creative, whether they be musicians, photographers, painters, etc.. I like the allure of an artists work that is shrouded in some mystery, where you can’t quite put your finger on why they created what they created, and I’d partly like to rein that true with myself. I digress though, I had been feeling as though I had become quite self indulgent with my work, that I was only doing it for me, for my benefit, so when this project came to mind I wanted to do something that I hoped would be of benefit to the lives of other people. Photography has a way of capturing a moment in time, arguably one composition can say a million different things to the person looking at it, but I hope that if I am fortunate enough to exhibit my work, that when people see these photos that it makes them think about those issues that we sometimes push under the carpet and don’t talk about. I want to take the conversation of the issues surrounded people with physical and mental issues out into the public, not just have them stay online.
6. What changes would you like to see in mental health services?
I know myself alone cannot change things overnight and, it’s much more than people’s minds I am looking to change, but If this project were to be a success then I would like to think what else I could do, ideally, I’d like to take what I have done and use it as a plan of action to change how the system works, i.e. waiting lists, but that is just an idea, but it’s something I do think about doing.
7. What impact would you like to have in mental health with your photography?
I hope that it most importantly gives the people who have given me their time to feel a sigh of relief that they have had the confidence to open themselves who to the wider public, and tell some of their story. Past that, I hope that whoever comes to visit what I hope to be an exhibition, that they get a better understanding of the sensitivity of theses issues at hand, and maybe that it will translate to people who are un-aware or ignorant to these issues and educate them. All I can do is hope, but that is what I wish to happen.
Shot #1 from Joe’s mental health project
Shot #2 of Joe’s mental health project
You can follow Joe here on Instagram, and check out his website here. You can contact him on his website if you’d like to be involved in his project!