Melancholic Photo Series Uses the Color Blue To Capture Experiences With Depression

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

To say one is “feeling blue” is a common way of expressing sadness. Fine art photographer Heather Evans Smith leans into this colloquial phrase in her photo series titled Blue to convey her experiences with depression as a woman in her 40s. The project also shows how this mental illness is pervasive at any age.

As its title suggests, the photographs are united by a strikingly blue color palette. From the clothes that the models wear to their indoor and outdoor settings to the objects that they come into contact with, everything is tinted in a cerulean shade. This makes it feel like the entire world that these figures occupy is steeped in melancholy. “Some say my dad's death was the spark that ignited my depression, but this feeling has been brewing for a while,” Smith tells My Modern Met. “I started to notice a sadness creep in a few years into my 40s. I searched ‘depression in women' and stumbled across articles stating women are the most depressed at age 44. I was at that very moment 44.”

These photographs find ways to keep the faces of the models anonymous—oftentimes resorting to hiding their heads in some way—which in turn makes these figures symbolic of depression itself. “Loss during this time in a woman’s life can weigh heavily,” Smith continues. “Children are getting older and need the comfort of a parent less; the health of one’s own parent(s) is starting to fail, and hormonal shifts begin.”

These women are alone in their azure environments, interacting with objects that are broken or misplaced.”Using the color blue, which for hundreds of years has been associated with melancholy and sadness-these images evoke this period in my life and how it affects those around me,” Smith adds. “A mid-point, as I am stripping down, taking stock, and finding a new place amongst the loss.”

You can purchase prints and other merch via Smith's online shop, and keep up to date with what she's up to next by following the artist on Instagram.

Chapel Hill-based artist Heather Evans Smith explores her experiences with depression in her photo series, Blue.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

She uses the color blue—which is commonly associated with sadness—to imbue the images with a sense of melancholy.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

“I started to notice a sadness creep in a few years into my 40s,” Smith tells My Modern Met.

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans Smith

“I searched ‘depression in women' and stumbled across articles stating women are the most depressed at age 44. I was at that very moment 44.”

Blue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithBlue Photo Series Captures Feelings of Depression by Heather Evans SmithHeather Evans Smith: Website | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Heather Evans Smith.

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Margherita Cole

Margherita Cole is a Contributing Writer at My Modern Met and illustrator based in Southern California. She holds a BA in Art History with a minor in Studio Art from Wofford College, and an MA in Illustration: Authorial Practice from Falmouth University in the UK. When she’s not writing, Margherita continues to develop her creative practice in sequential art.
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