Now more than ever, we need to make our mental health a priority. Remember to take a moment to yourself each day.
“Take a Moment for Mind” is a virtual exhibition curated from several decades’ worth of outtakes taken by celebrity photographer Ray Burmiston. The motivation behind the exhibition is to raise awareness and donations to mental health. For many years, almost as a matter of tradition, Burmiston tasked the famous subjects he captured to take a moment to pause and reflect during his shoots. His idea of this exercise was that they gather their thoughts and engage in a moment of calm which always resulted in a refreshing and beautiful portrait. In an interview with Mind, Burmiston explained the way in which these portraits “had an atmosphere quite different from the purpose of the shoot, capturing powerful images of self-reflection”. In a selection of his work, Mind have created a magnificent black and white gallery of familiar faces, including the likes of Helena Bonham Carter, Katie Piper and Sir Tom Jones.
The ongoing situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic has been difficult for us all. In fact, Mind’s research shows that for every three adults, two will have suffered with serious mental health problems over the past few months. Moreover, despite the massive increase in demand of services, fundraising has unfortunately been stunted drastically. The support and services which Mind provide are truly incredible and can only continue to be provided with crucial donations and support.
There are three ways in which YOU can make a difference by getting involved in the “Take a Moment” movement:
- You can pay £3 to upload your own “take a moment” portrait to the virtual gallery and sit alongside thousands of famous faces.
- Pay £40 for an authenticated print, a 3×3 grid of randomly generated portraits from the exhibition, with your selfie in the centre (print size: 10” x 8”).
- Pay £300 for a custom, authenticated and signed print so you can choose your favourite portraits (print size: 20” x 16”).
The beauty behind this contribution is that the public can “be a part of the art” alongside thousands of well-known faces. You can also do your bit by sharing information about the exhibition on social media. The beloved Stacey Dooley and Emma Bunton (aka. Baby Spice) recently shared their own black and white photographs on Instagram with #TakeAMoment4Mind attached. Why not follow suit?
The exhibition includes a stunning monochromatic portrait of Caroline Flack. As I’m sure most of you reading this will be aware, the ex-Love Island and X-Factor presenter was found deceased in her Stoke Newington home earlier this year, having tragically taken her own life. Following an investigation into Caroline Flack’s ongoing and exacerbated mental health in August, the coroner officially ruled the death to be suicide. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), the rate of suicide in England and Wales is said to have reached an all-time high in last the two decades. If you or anyone you know may be struggling, there are resources out there and people who can help so please reach out and don’t lose faith. Mind have brilliant information and support services as well as an “urgent help” button online. You can also call the Samaritans on 116 123 anytime day or night as their phone lines are open 24 hours a day.
Take a moment for yourself but also take a moment to check in with those around you.
The shot of Caroline was recently shared by Mind on Instagram as they displayed their honour and gratitude in having the opportunity to include this beautiful photo in the exhibition. Over the years, Ray Burmiston has worked closely with Caroline many times as he stated that he was always “really taken with the butterfly tattoo on her back”. This explains his inspiration behind his request for her to take this shot with her back turned as she closed her eyes to “take a moment and go to her happy place”. Caroline is said to have loved this portrait and to have given Burmiston permission to use it. Mind also approached her mum Christine who gave her blessing for the image to be used in the exhibition.
This innovative and powerful exhibition carries with it a meaningful message. The initiative clearly presents the importance of self-care and making time for yourself. The thousands of faces side by side, many of whom we idolise and consider to be extremely successful and fortunate, is a part of that message. Mental illness is something so many of us will or have already experienced, even those who may appear to have it all. Humankind have a responsibility to look out for one another so as well as doing this yourself, I urge you to encourage your friends and family to “take a moment” each day.
Words By: Olivia Snelson
Edited By: Anthea Pei