The silence of dogs in cars - reflecting depression
Posted Friday 18 May 2012
These images are about more than dogs. They draw upon my experiences of depression and are an attempt to capture that feeling of isolation and anxiety.
I was once left in a car at a young age. I don't know when or where or for how long, possibly at the age of four, perhaps outside a supermarket, probably for fifteen minutes only. The details don't matter. The point is that I wondered if anyone would come back: in a child's mind it is possible to be alone forever. Around the same age I developed a deep affinity with animals - in particular their plight at the hands of humans. Many animals, and some pets, seemed helpless and the fact that they could not speak made it worse.
It is clear that both these experiences arose from the same place deep inside me: a fear of being alone and unheard. These feelings have stayed with me and when I suffer from depression they haunt me – or maybe the depression is a result of trying to avoid those feelings.
I started this project as a way to explore those dark wild feelings, but in a safe way, to see if I could find the animal in the darkness that I might love and know.When I started this project I knew the photos would be dark. What I didn't expect was to see so many subtle reactions by the dogs: some sad, some expectant, some angry, some dejected. It was as if upon opening up a box of grey-coloured pencils I was surprised to see so many shades inside.
Perhaps there is life in the dark places within us.
I will stop writing now and you can stop reading. Words can only get us so far. After all, we are all animals.
PS. In case you were worried about the dogs, please don't be. I love dogs dearly (I have two of my own) and the dogs really didn’t have to spend much time in the cars. Their owners were there, and regular treats and water was given out.
Martin Usborne has a photographic studio in London. He's a long-time supporter of Mind and over the years has photographed many people and events for us. He thinks there is something magical about looking through the lens and capturing a bit of the world.
If you liked the pictures in this blog: see more and watch a video about the project. You can also help Martin get the book published.
Or read another blog he wrote for us called My experience with the black dog.
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