My Surreal Photography is a Reflection on Years of Depression

My name is Gabriel Isak. Over the past year, I have been working on a collection of images in which I wanted to depict the internal world of solitary people who symbolize our own unconscious states. The work is inspired by the years I went through depression, where I wanted to reflect human experiences that would allow the viewer to reflect on their own journey.

I began exploring photography about 12 years ago; around the same time, I faced depression for the first time in my life as a way to express my state of mind. Photography allowed me to escape into a different world, the one which I was creating, a place and a story that was lead by me, not that I was led by. But after a few months, I fell deep into the arms of depression and lost all passion for the medium.

In 2014, when I had come out on the other side of the depression and was pursuing a BFA degree in Photography in San Francisco, I picked up the medium again and began to unconsciously explore themes of depression in my work. Everything I created reflected on the years I was living with depression, inspired by psychology, surrealism, and the Scandinavian landscapes that I grew up around.

From there on it has been a medium I use to document our internal world focusing on themes inspired by psychology, surrealism and our unconscious mind.

My work is very personal to me, and has been a sort of therapy to combat my own emotions and experiences I’ve had over the years, yet I try to make it as anonymous as possible in order for it to speak to each spectator that will view it, so they can reflect back on their own journey in life through interacting with the internal world of the figures shown in my work.

I want my work to shine light on mental health and the darker and lonelier side of the world that we otherwise never talk about. My work has been shown in galleries around the world and I hope to keep exhibiting it to the public in galleries and museum places in the future and turn it into a book in the nearest future.

About the author: Gabriel Isak is a photographer based in Sweden. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of Isak’s work on his website, Facebook, Behance, and Instagram.