Image & Words By Our Editor: James Wrigley
We have made it clear that one our intentions with Then There Was Us is to highlight issues within the creative industry. One such issue is something that most of us all take part.
Our main demographic with Then There Was Us fall in the age range of 18 to 24, which is also the most active demographic on social media. There have been numerous studies that suggest social media is linked to high levels of stress, anxiety, and depression. This isn’t something new, we have all seen the articles…
But it is a reality. We produce a fake account of our lives, showcasing the ‘highlight reel’ of our everyday – the wins, the best moments. “We struggle with insecurity because we compare our behind-the-scenes with everyone else’s highlight reel.” Steven Furtick We compare nearly every factor of what we see on social media to our own lives, we suffer from FOMO, we get stressed, we get depressed, we shame ourselves, and the worst part is that for most of us we do this subconsciously.
The reason this project started is because of numerous conversations from creatives, each one suffering from some form of stress, depression or anxiety. For the purpose of this article I have not named anyone, but their statements are the reason behind this series.
The conversation started in April last year, when a close friend of mine deleted all social media accounts, after much conversation about their choice to do so, the main point was an attempt to (In their words) “get a break from it all”. This break wasn’t a social break, but one of production and creativity, and linked heavily with the pace of success of others, the comparison of their own working life to that of others highlight reels.
Over the next few months I had conversations with many people within the creative industry, the topic of ‘taking breaks’ and ‘resting’ was somewhat uncomfortable for many. There is a certain sense of pride when being ‘stressed’ and ‘busy’, that the grind is a constant 24/7 activity with most people only ever showing the busy moments of their creative process; the exhibition, the publications, the feature, the new works, the new this, the new that. Every single feed I explored during these conversations was all focused around being busy and around being active within their career.
Social media, Instagram for one, play a huge role in creating this stress, from the stream of posts, to the stories and highlights, Instagram is a feed of constant ‘doing’, with everyone wanting to be seen as being successful and producing. Taking into account the number of people we follow online, this stream of activity is constant, so if someone is ‘taking a break’ they are replaced by someone who isn’t and the chain of new work and production is all you ever see, and with this we begin to compare and we begin to feel stress, anxiety, and depression if we do take a break, or like many simply can’t work fast enough to keep up.
These conversations made me realise the large amount of people within the creative industry who felt the need to at one point or another take a break from social media all together. Among other areas that I explored during this research, one of the main issues surrounding stress for creatives online was the pace and comparison of production to others, which is why we are releasing the Interim Project.
Interim is a week long photography project that we encourage as many photographers to be involved with. The aim is showcase the moments between, to be honest and intimate about your own lives. A visual and honest representation of our mission statement as they are all issues that each of us have faced in one form or another. If it’s the zero hour job, mental health issues, frustrations or boredom and the mundane, we want you to join our visual diary.
Submission & Specs
Images: 14 & above images that must be shot over one week. Use any medium you prefer, and shoot in anyway you like, this project has no restrictions.
Text: Each image should have at least one line of text as a caption.