Photographer John William Keedy explores themes of anxiety and varied neuroses in his series titled It’s Hardly Noticeable. Examining his own struggles with anxiety over the past nine years and drawing from other mental disorders, the images present an insightful look at behaviors that are deemed “abnormal” while simultaneously challenging ideas of normalcy. The serious topic is addressed in an intriguing fashion, one that offers small windows into the lives of people who suffer from mental illnesses. Each image is like a pocket of information that reveals a tiny corner of a bigger picture.
In one frame we are presented only with the hand of an anonymous character gripping onto a bloodied individual flosser over a sink filled with dozens of the tiny instrument, already used, and there are still over a dozen more flossers waiting to be used. Clearly, Keedy is reflecting the obsessive-compulsive behavior of an individual who is compelled to continually clean his teeth. Another image shows countless delivered packages at a doorstep, suggesting it’s the residence of an extremely agoraphobic individual, finding difficulty to take even one step out the door.
Ultimately, the series exposes the struggles faced by people with mental disorders on a daily basis. At the same time, he questions what “normal” is anymore, seeing as there are so many individuals dealing with anxiety-based issues. Keedy asks, “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?”