"Being open and honest about my feelings and using these emotions to create art became a great source of relief."

About Danny:

I’m a 33 year old from Jersey, Channel Islands. With a split photography personality, I am both a full time wedding, family & commercial photographer as well as being a creative conceptual/portrait photographer.

Inspired by both light and darkness I like to create emotive, storytelling photography based on personal experiences and the world around me.

My short series on depression, anxiety and insecurity was recently exhibited in Paris and was featured in The Huffington Post, The Mighty and Men’s Minds Matter.

I regularly collaborate with local charities to help bring awareness to causes relating to the mind and soul and am currently planning my next project which will once again be both a personal exposé as well as a collaboration with others experiencing psychological struggles.

What was the major turning point in your recovery from depression?

This can very much depend on what day of the week it is and which way the wind is blowing! 

It’s not a battle that I see as being won or lost – rather I look to times in which I am winning (however fleetingly). 

The birth of my daughter Arya was initially a trigger to sink further into depression (with the overwhelming fears and responsibilities of parenthood) as well as being the key to finding life’s purpose and joy. 

Being open and honest about my feelings and using these emotions to create art became a great source of relief – as well as the acceptance and understanding of those who supported me and the work I produced. 

Following my passion and becoming a full time photographer was once again something that bought it’s own pressures but has undeniably left me with a sense of satisfaction and purpose that couldn’t previously be found in my 9-5 office job.

What are some things that really helped?

1. Talking/Sharing your feelings:

  • You’ll see this a lot and it sounds cliché but a problem shared can often be a problem halved… let the load off your mind. If you have a close friend, parent or loved one you can share with the great… but it can often be a bit scary opening up to someone you know. Consider sharing with someone who you trust will identify with how you feel… this could even be online rather than someone who exists in your day-to-day life – sometimes writing things down can be a great release.

2. Read, Listen, Watch:

  • If you feel depressed (for whatever reason) there is highly likely to be someone else out there in the world who can identify with you and has experienced something similar in their own lives… how are they overcoming it? how did they overcome it? Recently I’ve found blogs, podcasts and videos from fellow sufferers to be incredibly helpful in ‘rewiring’ how I think about certain things. These people can be hugely inspiring. And not only do they prove that things can become better but, if you do have that fear of opening up to those directly around you, they can provide a safe haven whilst remaining at a distance – allowing you to slowly get your head around what it is you’re feeling before you eventually do open up to your loved ones.

3. Get out in nature:

  • I’ve been fortunate to have lived on a beautiful island most of my life and the sea, woods and fresh air are never far away. If you have the option get out there… disconnect for a bit… the technological advances our society has made in a relatively short time has overtaken our own evolution. We may well be adaptable to our surroundings, but in essence we are simple creatures that need natural light, fresh air and a healthy lifestyle.  There is a beauty in nature that can’t be found in an app or behind a computer screen.

4. Get a hobby:

  • Whether it’s something you used to love to do as a kid or a new pastime, finding something to occupy your mind can be a great way of lightening the load. Depression and the associated feelings can often feel like a downward spiral – where motivation is low at best. Revisiting an old passion can regenerate some positive pathways in your mind and give you something to focus on. Progressing at a new hobby can feel exhilarating. Personally I like creative activities – as well as insects! I used to love them as a kid and now as a photographer I have the ability to capture them and their worlds in a way that was only ever possible in my imagination.

What advice would you give to other guys fighting depression?

Despite how it may feel, you are not alone. I’ve known people who have overcome addiction, prison sentencing, the deaths of parents/loved ones who have rebuilt their lives and are even stronger for it. That sense of impending doom and helplessness is not a permanent state… there are no permanent states in life.

It’s important to find a way of sharing what’s in your head – do not consume yourself… talk to others, write down your feelings, change your routine, and try to turn your destructiveness into something creative and productive.

Images Submitted By Danny:

1. Working Nine To Five

Inspired by my days working in an office when all I really wanted to do was create art… I felt like I was surrounded by a beautiful world of possibilities but like most people stuck in the rat race of mundane routine I was unable to see the beauty of nature around me and reach out to make the most of my life… I, like many others, was living with my head in the sand and felt lost in myself.

2. Who Are You?

Created on my 32nd birthday, I’d reached a point in my life where the person I was on the outside didn’t feel like the person I was on the inside. It was almost like a crossroads… and the conflict of what I was vs what I wanted to be created an internal struggle that I had spent a long time fighting. I feel that there is both struggle and hope and the darkness and the light.

3. Fear

Created as a reminder to myself…

“I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain.” – Frank Herbert

4. Find Peace

Created on World Peace Day, I focussed on the internal desire to find peace and contentment in an often troublesome physical and mental world.

5. Hold On, Be Strong

The second image from my mini series based on Depression, Anxiety & Insecurity – dealing with Anxiety. I shot this series nude as it represented me at my most vulnerable state – with weight being a particular cause of concern. There is both a sense of beauty and fragility in the naked human form & despite our struggles we must show our strength – hold on in even the most fearful of situations.

Danny RichardsonCreative Director, Photographer and Editor based out of Jersey, Channel Islands.

Creative Conceptual/Portrait Photography: facebookinsta 

Wedding/Family/Commercial Photography:  facebookinsta