Samantha Jackson Photography

Out of my head, into the wild (2020)

As a photographer, and often in my own life, I find myself drawn to the positives in life and often neglect the feelings of burnout and anxiety that I regularly face as a full-time student, entrepreneur, athlete, and friend. Out of my head, into the wild explores the therapeutic and calming effect that nature has in my life as I attempt to acknowledge and address my mental health struggles. This series uses a conceptual approach, such as employing blur and distortion, as well as the narrative framework to reject didactic representations of mental health images.


Set in parks, beaches, and along the waterfront of Toronto, Out of my head, into the wild uses sites of nature as a refuge for the city that’s always hustling. Drawing inspiration from Maureen Drennan’s series The Sea That Surrounds Us, I include myself in the landscape to physically ground myself to the site and draw on my personal connection to the space. More ambiguous imagery such as bodies of water act as metaphors for mental health, including the idea that there is more beneath the surface than one can see. 


This project is well-suited to photography as the medium addresses the concept of time. Often, photography captures only a fraction of a second but can be drawn out with long exposures. People may only see a small fraction of a person who is struggling with mental health, but over time can understand a larger narrative through a series of smaller moments. Playing with various exposures to blur motion alludes to the passing of time as well as disorientation.

Using Format