John William Keedy

Keedy’s work, It’s Hardly Noticeable shows the photographer’s experience of anxiety disorder, these experiences then base themselves in the mundane objects of the world around a character Keedy created in order to show how his anxiety affects everyday life, including warping his view of objects that would otherwise be helpful.

The following text is from Keedy’s website, explaining his intentions with the project.

“It’s Hardly Noticeable explores the world of a character who navigates living with an unspecified anxiety-based mental illness. He negotiates situations constructed to highlight the impacts and implications of his differences on his thoughts and behaviors, and by doing so raises question of normalcy. Through constructed tableaus and metaphorical still lifes, the series reveals the relationship between reality and perception, and highlights issues of pathology while questioning stereotypes of normalcy.

In 2009 economist Bill Gross used the term New Normal to define the American economic landscape of the very recent past. In ensuing years, the term resonated with culture at large and became an umbrella term for changes in cultural and societal practices, identifying a shift in held notions of what is commonly viewed as acceptable.

These images question the legitimacy of applying the term normal in a societal context by prompting a reconsideration of what, if anything, is normal, or at least what is perceived and labeled as such. Is it possible for a society to have a commonly held idea of what is normal, when few individuals in that society actually meet the criteria for normalcy?”

Below are some of the images that I found resonated with my idea of anxiety: [Click for larger size & descriptions]

The image with the pins on the doorbells really resonates with me, the image almost horrifies me; this is because I feel this is so close to how I react when I have to either answer the doorbell or having to press one. This irrational fear of social interaction is realised by the pins, as these would cause a real pain, making the fear realistic and this is what I experience with normal doorbells, and only by looking at this work I begin to realise how strange of a fear it really is. I also find the tableau which features the post-it notes with the mantra ‘Be Better’ written perfectly upon them also brings back thoughts which I have often found almost debilitating in real life, the idea that I am ‘useless’ is something which can at times even stop me from leaving the house, and on occasion stop me from even leaving my bedroom. To see this many post-it notes stuck by the front door would be something that I would find very triggering and would leave this sense of fear which would taint the rest of my ‘normal’ day.

In my own work I would like to create similar images, smaller scale tableau that I could perhaps sequence to form a narrative consisting of a general social event that normally I would try to avoid. Using some of the foreboding feelings that I get from Keedy’s work I would be able to show how I would see and react to ‘everyday’ things during a panic attack.

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