25 years ago I woke up in a hospital with no memory of how I had gotten there. ‘A Certain Distance’ is an ongoing series of images exploring the things I haven’t been able to say to anyone. I repeatedly think that these aren’t the images I want to take. That this is a story I do not want to tell. Life now is often measured in the time between cigarettes. This was not the first time, nor the last, and maybe that is what made it so difficult.
That feeling that I should know better. It is so strange that even when things are completely broken we still try to hold on to the pieces. All those dangerously sharp shards of glass. I didn’t realize that in trying to hold things together I would make it even worse. That the distance I needed to maintain the fantasy would separate me entirely from the people I love. It is impossible to have a connection to someone who can’t connect.
Often identified as a personality trait and not an illness, people with early onset dysthymia are able to hide their symptoms in many social situations. While accepting major depression, anxiety and other personality disorders as an inevitable part of their daily lives. The cumulative effects of these co-occurring conditions pushes them to the periphery of society. The isolation becomes a kind of deliberate un-belonging. A vicious circle where by shutting down one part of our heart we lose the rest.
The images in this series are in some ways fragmented. Lives that no longer exist and disjointed memories that can’t be trusted mix with now. The myth we perceive as ourselves. They exist in that contradictory space between what I know and what I feel. Dysthymia is seductive. It has its own beauty. Like a veil I see through I can’t remember a time before this, I can’t imagine a life without this.
Philip LePage (1995 BA Art History) was born in 1969 in Northern Canada but left in 1995 and remained in Sweden and Japan for 13 years. He currently lives on Prince Edward Island, Canada.
Photography for Philip LePage is centered on the contradictions inherent in ideas of home, identity and belonging. He thinks of photography as a journey between two worlds. A middle ground that separates and joins at the same time. A liminal space very like Isaac Stern described music; “that little bit between each note-silences which give form”.