Lauren Simonutti

Documenting Madness: Lauren E. Simonutti

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In 2006, Lauren E. Simonutti began hearing voices in her head. She was diagnosed with “rapid cycling, mixed state bipolar with schizoaffective disorder.” As a method of coping with her illness, as well as a way to document it, she began making photographs in the house where she lived in virtual isolation. The large-format images are a mix of self-portraits and still life and are a haunting look into her mind’s descent into madness. She said of her work, “I will either capture my ascension from madness to as much a level of sanity for which one of my composition could hope, or I will leave a document of it all, in the case that I should lose.” Ultimately, Simonutti did lose and passed away last week as a result of “complications from her illness.”

 Lauren Simonutti

Lauren Simonutti

Lauren Simonutti

Lauren Simonutti

Additional Resources
Edelman Gallery
Deviant Art

[via 500 Photographers]


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  • Catherine Ann April 28, 2012   Reply →

    This body of work is arresting in it’s stark honesty and vulnerability. Ms. Simonutti’s desire and willingness to share her journey, of what seems so dark a passage through time, will no doubt benefit all affected by mental illness and their loved ones.  
    Rest in Peace Lauren.

  • Jeffery Saddoris April 23, 2012   Reply →

    I don’t think she chose to stay in her illness as much as her illness chose to stay in her. She fought it quite hard and even attempted suicide on three different occasions.

  • Earl Newton April 23, 2012   Reply →

    With those kinds of illnesses, one wonders if it’s even safe to try to stay in it long enough to express it through art.  Sort of like creating a memorial to something that depresses you: you won’t stop being depressed until you can move past the thing that’s affecting you.

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