This project challenges the media's generalized view of the look of someone living with symptoms of a mental illness, and informs with a true and corrected view. A key to living well with any disability, is not to be burdened with fear of stigma, but rather to have both loving acceptance and inspiring role models. This project hopes to encourage those who are on their path to recovery, as well as the families whose loved one is impacted.
Goal of the 99 Portraits
No Labels: The 99 faces are all unidentified. There are 33 individuals on schizophrenia spectrum, 33 on bipolar spectrum, 33 who love them. But you can not determine who has each experience. No one is labeled and this reinforces that symptoms are not the person. These portraits honor all faces, regardless of the presence of a mental illness.
Diversity of the US population is mirrored in 99 Faces, ages range from 3 years old to individuals in their 90th year, and includes individuals from every walk of life: Vets, PhDs, Artists, Lawyers, MBAs, CEOs, authors, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, etc.
Common Humanity: The goal is to the reveal beauty, individuality and happiness within all individuals…. regardless of their experiences with BP-SZ-Normal symptoms. The photography captures personality and spirit, images which reach from the individual to create a connection with the viewer.
"We know to a large extent that recovery from mental illness is often limited by people's perception. The connections with family and community is perhaps the most healing force in recovery. We, in the psychiatric community, strongly believe that family involvement and connections in recovery is essential. Recently we did a study of individuals that experienced significant recovery, not one person referenced their psychiatrist, but all acknowledged their love, acceptance and support of their close relationships."
Dr. Stephen R. Marder, MD, Semel Institute for Neuroscience at UCLA