When Netherlands-based photographer Laura Hospes was hospitalized following a suicide attempt, she took her camera with her into unit UCP-UMCG, where she underwent treatment. Instead of relinquishing her passion and aspirations, she continued to make self-portraits within the confines of her temporary residence.
The series UCP-UMCG, the photographer says, was born in part from the isolation inflicted by mental illness and social stigma. She and others dealing with depression, anxiety, or eating disorders aren’t “crazy;” these things can happen to anyone. And it’s lonely when it does.
Although Hospes began the UCP-UMCG portraits out of her own sense of urgency in making sense of her surroundings and in reaching moments of catharsis, she has since used them as a tool to communicate her experience to the important people in her life. It’s been difficult for friends and family to witness her suffering, but ultimately, the images have helped to cut through any sense of alienation to reveal the threads of support and connection that tie her to those she loves.
Making images while in the hospital was at times arduous for the photographer, but she pulled herself up by the bootstraps each day and made herself face the lens. Day by day, she was—in her own words—“surviving.” She’s still here.
All images © Laura Hospes
via Marie Claire