Thu 07 Sep 2017

CLOSE UP: Silvia Maggi - Using Photography to Cope With Depression and Anxiety

Photography is Shutter Hub member Silvia Maggi’s biggest passion. She started taking pictures at the age of 12 and has never stopped since.

Based in Cambridge, UK, her work has been exhibited at the Shutter Hub OPEN Exhibition 2017 at Retina Festival; the Shutter Hub OPEN Exhibition 2016 in Cambridge; and the GIRL TOWN Exhibition at London Photomonth in October 2016 (and soon to be in Tel Aviv October 2017!)

When Silvia got in touch to tell us how photography has helped her with depression and anxiety, we felt this was an important issue that needed to be shared more widely - so we invited her to share her experience on the blog, in her own words.

We all know that creativity can be a big help in tough times, so if you know someone who might get something positive from this Close Up, please share it with them.



Ever since my uncle gifted me with a compact film camera, in my early teens, I could be frequently seen taking pictures. Photography has become increasingly important, transitioning from documenting holidays to a way to express myself, particularly during difficult times.

A couple of years ago, I had a bout of depression followed by a period of severe anxiety. It became increasingly difficult to stay focussed and get things done, both at work and at home. I was fixated on thoughts of illness and death, unable to distinguish what was real from what was made up by a fearful mind.



I asked for help, and was diagnosed with health anxiety. Soon afterwards, I started my cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). It took a while to be convinced by my therapist that my mind was tricking me into feeling and seeing what wasn’t there. Both my loved ones and I were fine, and I could go on with my life as usual.

I’d been taught useful techniques to relax and help my sleep, and how to prevent being stuck in a negative thoughts circle. What I needed was a mean of expression that I could consistently practise without the risk of boredom, and photography was the natural choice.



Taking pictures has always been a source of pleasure. Now, having a camera with me in my day-to-day life is essential: it feels right to stop and record what catches my eye.

As a result, I’ve become aware of my surroundings, noticing and appreciating even the smallest details. When I'm composing a picture, setting up the camera and releasing the shutter, I'm living in the here and now - a place where nothing can overwhelm me.




Do you have a favourite photographer you would like to see featured in one of our Close Up features? Or maybe you have a series of work you'd like to share? Send us an email to [email protected] 



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