Collecting – Heads: Photographers research – Marius Els

25th February 2021

My name is Marius, I am a new media artist living in North London.

I am passionate about conceptual fine art photography, expressing my thoughts and ideas in a surreal, colourful and theatrical way using digital manipulation in photoshop.

Each project consists of research, planned modelling, props and landscape photo shoots from which I gather chosen images to create the final image. 

Els, M. (2017)

Marius Els was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder in 2013 (I hope my maths is correct). With this mental health disorder comes a very big battle with symptoms such as illusions, paranoia, depression, mania, anxiety and psychotic episodes. Els then began to use photography as a way of exploring and understanding his diagnosis which provided him with a way to express his emotions and fears during both manic and depressive episodes.

Having first hand experience of living with someone with Bipolar, I can fully understand how Els could produce work when he is manic because there is an abundance of energy, little sleep and a type of ‘I can do anything’ mentality that comes with it, but I am wondering how he created such amazing images when he was depressed. This is because my ex when he suffered with the depression side of his bipolar could not even lift his head off his bedroom pillow, it was like he had died, there wasn’t anything, not even a small spark of energy or enthusiasm to even get him to hold his pen or type a word (he is an author and journalist).

You can indeed tell by the three examples above from the post on Bored Panda that Els has spent a very long time planning and preparing his work from the initial idea stage, the many individual shoots that he has had to complete and then the montaging of the images together to produce his final one in Photoshop.

The first time I saw this Seasons of the Mind project, a title that fits so well with Bipolar Disorder, all I could think of was Salvador Dali. Once I had moved beyond my initial ‘Dali’ reaction I began to look at the complex interweaving of images that were within each composition.

To be honest I cannot relate the experiences I have living with my ex Bipolar fiancé with these images. The colours do actually match, the darkness of the depression and the colour of the manic episodes but the little images, which remind me of religious icons are related personally to Marius Els, I cannot read what they want me to know. Perhaps this is the point, Els Bipolar diagnosis is his, we each react differently within our own diagnosis and lives, perhaps this is Els in symbolic form?

Although at first glance the visual impact is quite overwhelming, once I had begun to look at the individual information and then compare compositions I could see similar attributes in the image constructions. These are:

  • Placement of heads and features are on the same point in the composition
  • Floating backgrounds
  • Buildings akin to monuments and temples in the background

The interest for me is the similar attributes in the compositions as they act to connect the images together as a series. This is the type of composition I am looking for in my work where I have a concept and the images are linked through similar visual attributes.


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