Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

When we share photo stories, we usually focus on the lighting, the gear or some other aspect of the technical process. Today we would like to share Jen Brook‘s Photograph and her story that is more about the emotions that go into a photo.

On the tenth day in October 2012, one year ago today, a child put a rope around her fifteen year old neck…

Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

This is Amanda Todd. This is her story…

I saw this video just a few days after her suicide…and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it since. The truth in a tragic tale of a beautiful young girl who didn’t know where to turn.

Archive Facebook status October 2012:

Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

I didn’t know Amanda, but I wished so hard I’d spoken to her. The frustration was crippling. I don’t know if I’d have made a difference but not knowing was even worse. I wanted to tell her that what matters today, won’t matter tomorrow…and everything will be alright in the end.

I recognized myself and many others in her story – those silly days at school when you want to melt into the floor because life was never ever going to get better. Those days at school when the person you want to notice you, doesn’t…those days at school when everyone is laughing at you, you’re humiliated and vulnerable…those days at school when you’re laughed at for being flat chested and so skinny that your clothes are elasticated and pinned because they don’t fit…whatever it was, we all had them. But do we still think of them now? I know I don’t.

School ends, those days are insignificant in retrospective. They really don’t matter. Whatever she did, it did not matter. Why did nobody tell her that?

Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

Significantly affected, my next Dreamcatcher image is for anyone lost; because although I’m too late for Amanda, I had to tell others…you are not alone.

I approached Andrew Appleton about the concept who agreed to shoot it for me along with other model Gema and his assistant Vicki. I wanted to portray two stories in one image, suggesting that every time we feel isolated and like we’re the only person to have suffered that experience…there is always somebody else who has been through something similar and survived to the other side.

To connote two stories intertwined without acknowledgment, I asked Andrew to shoot looking down on two characters in toilet cubicles side by side without the subjects being aware of each other. After weeks of hunting for a suitably high ceiling in a public toilet, Gema located the perfect place at The Lacehouse in Nottingham who kindly agreed to let us in.

Behind the scenes:

Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

It was a difficult image to create (both in practicalities and emotionally)…and although the inspiration for this shot was gut wrenchingly negative, I needed the message to remain positive. I truly hope that this very real story is a reminder to myself and to others, that there is always, absolutely always, a new tomorrow beyond today.

Today is World Mental Health Day, talk to people. Make this positive, you might just save a life.

In memory of Amanda and all those who weren’t told…

You are not alone

Photo Story: You Are Not Alone

Photographer: Andrew Appleton, assistant: Vicki Head, second model: Gema Lena

About the author

This series is part of a wonderful project called Dreamcatcher by model/creative Jen Brook. If you are inspired, you can learn more about this project in an interview she did with fstoppers.

Jen Brook is a creative fine art, conceptual and fashion model based in Preston, England. You can follow her Facebook here and her Twitter here. She writes in the same style over at Tumblr, so make sure you give it a visit. This article originally appeared here.

  • johnhs

    Heart breaking

  • Qrious

    Kids are forgetting what it means to be “human.” Everything they’re exposed to, on tv, radio, magazines, books, real life… is all about being popular and being appealing. We’ve all forgotten what it’s like to be kind, forgiving, helpful and understanding. AT NO POINT, IS IT E-V-E-R WORTH THE LIFE OF A CHILD to forget these simple things. May she be the last child to think there’s no way out of this.

  • Anna

    Some people are animals! What is wrong with the world?

  • Jon Peckham

    Our society is very sick. The problem is our horrible addiction to the use of force and violence to solve issues. The number one offender is government. The family has got to be the focus of the future. Stop spanking your children now!! Stop punishing them now! Learn how to peacefully parent and successfully negotiate. The adults and parents are the ones at fault always!

  • Jeffrey Cutlip

    Thank you for making me think, hopefully it had the same effect on others.

  • Sita Carolina

    This is simply beautiful.

  • kat

    This is very heart breaking

  • makhlouf

    hey amanda iam here for you your story have very much pain i want the treu relationship iam sirious i gonna help you ^^ i hope you answer me soon .