A poignant photo series uses the color blue to explore depression

Saying that you are “sickened” is a common way of expressing sadness. Fine art photographer Heather Evans Smith reflects on this colloquial phrase in her photo series titled Blue to convey her experiences with depression as a woman in her forties. The project also shows how this mental illness is pervasive at all ages.

As the title suggests, the photographs are united by a striking blue color palette. From the clothes the models wear, to their indoor and outdoor settings, to the objects they come into contact with, everything is tinged with a cerulean hue. It makes the entire world these characters occupy seem to be steeped in melancholy. “Some say my dad’s death was the spark that started my depression, but that feeling has been brewing for a while,” Smith told My Modern Met. “I started noticing a surge of sadness a few years later in my 40s. I searched for ‘depression in women’ and came across articles stating that women are most depressed at age 44. I I was 44 at the time.

These photographs find ways to keep the sitters’ faces anonymous – often resorting to hiding their heads in some way – which makes these figures symbolic of the Depression itself. “Loss during this time in a woman’s life can weigh heavily,” Smith continues. “Children are getting older and need the comfort of a parent less; his own parents’ health begins to deteriorate and hormonal changes begin.

These women are alone in their azure surroundings, interacting with broken or misplaced objects. “Using the color blue, which for hundreds of years has been associated with melancholy and sadness, these images evoke this period of my life and how it affects those around me,” Smith adds. “A midpoint, as I undress, take stock, and find a new place among the losses.”

You can purchase prints and other merchandise through Smith’s online store, and keep up to date with what she’s up to next by following the artist on Instagram.

Chapel Hill-based artist Heather Evans Smith explores her experiences with depression in her photo series, Blue.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

She uses the color blue – which is commonly associated with sadness – to imbue images with a sense of melancholy.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

“I started noticing a surge of sadness a few years later in my 40s,” Smith told My Modern Met.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

“I searched for ‘depression in women’ and came across articles stating that women are most depressed at age 44. I was 44 at the time.”

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithHeather Evans Smith: Website | instagram

My Modern Met has granted permission to feature photos of Heather Evans Smith.

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