“I have one persona that people see everyday, and another that I hide from the world,” Obert writes. “Many others who suffer from bipolar and depression have the same experience.”
The talented photographer decided to base her newest photographic project on what it’s really like to live with mental illness — and the resulting series, Dualities, includes a dual self-portrait showing the composed, confident, polished face she presents to the world — juxtaposed against an honest portrayal of her existence behind closed doors when feeling depressed.
Obert, who has taken ten dual portraits so far but wants to create more, says she asks her subjects to write down on the printed images how they feel in each photo.
In her own “behind closed doors” caption, she lists phrases including “red wine and pizza”, “close friends” and “trying not to think”, while below her “public face” portrait she writes “socializing, happy hour, camping, climbing, feeling pretty, optimistic, everything will be all right.”
The Portland, Oregon-based artist says she hopes her work will “reduce the stigma of bipolar and depression”.
“Through this series and the conversations that I hope it inspires, people without these disorders can connect with the people who have them,” she wrote.
We think the series is pretty damn excellent. Take a look at the rest of the series so far:
Obert also told Slate the project has also taught her just how misunderstood mental illness remains.
“As I’ve been doing this project I found that a lot of people don’t have a clear view of what bipolar and depression is—bipolar in particular,” she said. “I think the world still needs to be educated a bit more in that process.
“Robin Williams’ death brought it up a bit in the press and through that we were able to create discussions about it but most of the time it is unspoken.”
You can find Liz Obert’s website here.