Ilford photographer makes invisible mental disabilities visible

Photographer Peter Mirow. Picture: Peter Mirow

Photographer Peter Mirow. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

An Ilford photographer takes away the stigma of mental illness by empowering his subjects to proudly display their disabilities.

Photographs from Time to Change exhibit. Picture: Peter Mirow

Photographs from Time to Change exhibit. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

Peter Mirow, 40 of Ilford, found out he had Type 1 diabetes when he was 13 years old and soon after that he started hearing a running commentary of voices in his head which was later diagnosed as paranoid schizophrenia.

Peter's struggles with his mental health led him to lose his job at Barclay's bank 10 years ago but since then he's channeled his energy into photography and showcasing others who are dealing with their physical or mental disabilities.

Photographer Peter Mirow. Picture: Peter Mirow

Photographer Peter Mirow. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

Peter said: "I try to engage people in conversations around mental and physical disabilities and make an invisible disability visible through my photographs."

He worked with Time to Change, a charity which aims to tackle mental health stigma and discrimination to put on a photography exhibition as part of a London Borough of Culture series in February called "Who are 1 in 4?"

Exhibit at Whipps Cross. Picture: Peter Mirow

Exhibit at Whipps Cross. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant


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The exhibition highlighted the one in four people who experience mental health problems in the UK every year, and show how their disabilities are not obvious on the outside.

Peter said: "I have a disability but you wouldn't be able to tell by just looking at me."

Preeti Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Preeti Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

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He photographed his subjects twice - once with a negative image showing how they're perceived in society and another postitive one that shows how they feel on the outside.

He is also currently working with TfL on exhibiting some of his photographs in its offices.

Jo Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Jo Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

The Tfl series consists of black and white photographs, inspired by the film Schindler's List, with a pop of purple, which is a colour that marks mental health.

The photographs empower their subjects to proudly display their mental disabilities.

Hannah Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Hannah Positive from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

Peter said he has seen a lot of progress in the conversation around mental health in the last 10 years.

He said: "When I was first diagnosed it was a different world. Now there is a feeling that if you have a mental disability it's just another part of your life."

Hannah Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Hannah Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

You can see samples of Peter's work at www.rollingjovi.com.

Preeti Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Preeti Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

Jo Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow

Jo Negative from exhibit Who are 1 in 4. Picture: Peter Mirow - Credit: Archant

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