Suicide is the 10th highest-leading cause of death in the world. In light of Suicide Awareness day, we’re sharing essays, art, and expositions that open conversations on suicide and mental health in the hopes of breaking the taboo surrounding mental health.
When and where did you shoot “Greater Ghosts”? What was the process?
I shot Greater Ghosts in Dubai, which is where I’m based for a year now. There was really no clear process; I just had to release something that day, like most of the art I do. It was one of those days when everything gets really, really dark and you can’t do anything about it.
I was smoking in the balcony and I kept looking at the street ten floors below. It felt like it was calling me. So I answered back in the way I know how: I took my camera and went around the block just taking pictures not minding the exposure and shit like that. Afterwards, I went back up to my room and slept.
How long did it take you to find out that travel is catharsis to you?
It took long to realize, but it was a gradual thing. Traveling gave me a chance to be someone else somewhere else, it felt like whenever I was out of my comfort zone I had the freedom to be whoever I want to be, without the heaviness of everything home has given me.
Davao was my home base for a few years because that’s where I studied. But after my father died, Davao felt like it had a very big black hole that sucks everything good. So I packed my bags and travelled around the Philippines and that made me forget some of the bad things in life. When I felt like Davao was safe for me again, I went back and lived and worked there for another year. But it didn’t feel right, so I left.
What do you want people to feel when they watch Greater Ghosts?
I want them to feel that in all the darkness there is in our head, sometimes there is light. That even though we come home to our own voids, our own ghosts, we can walk around it, even dance around it.
What’s your message to the youth who want to understand the importance of mental health?
Even I want to understand the entirety of mental health because I still think it’s a fragile ground to step on and to pretend that you understand everything, everyone in it can shake it and complicate it even more. For me, mental health should be treated the same way as we treat physical health. And it’s not just in our heads, it’s real.
Augustine Paredes (b. 1994) is a Filipino artist working as a creative — photographer, graphic designer, and copy writer — in the UAE. After graduating at 19, with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mass Communication, he started gaining experience and training from multimedia agencies in Manila, Singapore, Stockholm, and Dubai. He was able to pull off three successful solo exhibitions (Edge of Seventeen, We Are Water, and How Strangers Meet). On the side, he is participating in different group exhibitions (Art Dubai, Fotosemana Manila, Art Fair PH, etc.) and art presentations through fellow artists all over the world. His works have also been published in print and online platforms such as Madame Magazine (France), Fashion Glossary UK (UK), Fashionably Male (Mexico), Cosmopolitan Magazine (Philippines), GG For You, Team Magazine, Frame Zero Media, M Magazine, and Explore PH Magazine.
He is also the founder and creative director of now defunct online youth magazine, LIEU Magazine.