It’s Hardly Noticable: Photographs That Represent the Feeling of Anxiety


Photographer John William Keedy has had to deal with an anxiety disorder for some nine years now. Never feeling like he quite fit in, and at times so nervous around crowds that he would only go to the grocery store when he was certain it was empty, he’s intimately familiar with the type of neurotic behavior a condition like his can encourage.

His photo series It’s Hardly Noticeable is an exploration of these neurotic, obsessive and strange behaviors that manifest as part of anxiety-based mental disorders.

The series also takes a long hard look at normalcy, and what it means to be normal:

These images question the legitimacy of applying the term normal in a societal context by prompting a reconsideration of what, if anything, is normal, or at least what is perceived and labeled as such. Is it possible for a society to have a commonly held idea of what is normal, when few individuals in that society actually meet the criteria for normalcy?

The series, therefore, is meant to prompt the viewer to question normalcy, without defining anxiety itself as “abnormal” in the process:

















Keedy has tried his best to temper the seriousness of the topic and message of the series with a little bit of humor, both for his sake as well as that of the viewer. To see more photos from It’s Hardly Noticeable or the other projects that Keedy has put together, head over to his website by clicking here.

“It’s Hardly Noticeable” by John William Keedy (via Wired)

Image credits: Photographs by John William Keedy and used with permission.

  • Steven William Blackwood

    These are great. Those who are extroverts or don’t suffer from anxiety or OCD (I am not saying that introverts suffer from these “maladies”) may not understand these photographs. I understand most of them all too well!

  • Al

    I love this. I wish I was a good enough photographer and/or creative enough to make a series of photos showing what the inside of my head is like.

  • A_Lwin

    Being an introvert myself I understand the feeling of anxiety we feel when having to deal with a lot of things but I don’t consider it unusual or abnormal in anyway. The second photo reminds me of how I use to avoid stepping on cracks or lines on the pavement as a kid and up to my early 20s. Some of the other photos remind me of how I had to keep my desk neat and tidy, how I had to do things perfectly…. I’m still not over these “quirks” but it is taking a lot of my willpower to suppress it. I understand these photos very well.

  • Dave

    Good photography, strong message. I do not understand everything in this series, but I like the body of work. The tiny red streaks in the flossing image was particularly strong.

  • Norshan Nusi

    This is powerful.

  • AL

    As an amateur photographer who was diagnosed with OCD twenty years ago, I think that this project is incredibly powerful. The images are beautiful and truly capture the thoughts and emotions of someone living with anxiety. Love it!

  • bgrady413

    I love this series. It is really powerful and speaks to me. Wow.

  • Justin DoCanto

    Oh man. Just looking at these photos stirs up my anxiety. I couldn’t look for too long. haha. great work.

  • Joey Duncan

    Honestly, you can do this. This isn’t meant to put the photographer down, but this is good expression, not good photography. Get out there and shoot, when you think of it, shoot it. I which I had done stuff like this when i started, lol but I think it gave me anxiety. it’s not extreme for me but I somewhat understand how it affects people. Personally I’m just afraid of rejection.

  • asd

    One does not simpy mix anxiety and humor.

  • Ron Mexico

    All you gotta do man is confront the fear. Over and over and over again. I had it myself. I opened my own computer store. Imagine that… talking to people you don’t know over and over and over every single day. You know what happens? The fear subsides. And eventually you start to see other people acting more afraid than you. Or rather… you *notice* that they’re more afraid than you. And it goes away. Just like any other irrational fear you just need to confront it again and again until your subconscious mind starts to see that “hey, i’m not dead… i can do this.”

  • Frank McKenna

    I love this series. The fence with the check marks strikes a chord with me.

  • Jordan Ewert

    Great photo series. All of the photos really speak to huge issues all on their own.

  • chai-attack

    these are amazing I wish I could look at them longer but I can’t ^^;

  • H

    I think that’s exactly the point.
    I also have terrible anxiety and these photos make me feel anxious on some level because they capture what its like to feel anxiety and/or things that could make people anxious in a way that they can feel it too just by looking at it.

  • alex

    i feel a low thrum of anxiety just looking at these photos.

  • angelinaizzieparker

    I am an extrovert and I have it. I’m always feeling anxious when I think someone is talking about me in a negative way at like a restaurant when I’m with my friends. Like people over at the other table is laughing and looking over at my direction when in reality they are laughing at a goofy painting I’m sitting in front of.

  • nerdstickle

    He’s trying too hard to be “anxious”

    It’s the same for nerds who watch “big bang theory”; they can see how forced it is.