Revisiting Beloved Photographer Danielle Hark of Broken Light Collective Through Her Lens
by Gabriel Nathan
When I am feeling especially cantankerous—this tends to happen in September during World Suicide Prevention Week, as well as during the entire month of May (Mental Health Awareness Month) I tend to—fairly or not—take out some of my frustrations about mental health advocacy on individual advocates and organizations who kind of mindlessly regurgitate memes about how “It’s Ok to Not Be Ok” and post “You Are Not Alone” all over social media, many times without anything else to really back that stuff up.
Danielle Hark has dedicated the last seven years of her life to show people that they are not alone, in a very demonstrable, tangible, artful, and beautiful way, through her creation of the Broken Light Collective, an online community of photographers living with mental illness who document and share their creative interpretations of their lives and illnesses through the lens.
After the birth of her first daughter, Danielle was struggling severely with agoraphobia and post-partum depression. In a state of extreme distress in her bathroom, Danielle fell to the shower floor, brought down the shower curtain, dropped a mirror and reached for her phone to call for help, but, instead, it was on camera mode.
And a journey began, one that would reach out across the world to other individuals dealing with depression, anxiety, PTSD, trauma, and suicidal ideation. What we see, what we show, and what we capture with our eyes and mind and heart is extraordinary and moving, and Danielle Hark has helped people really, truly understand, through connecting photographers and people who are drawn to their work, that they are most certainly not, that nobody, ever, is alone.
Please enjoy this gorgeous, gripping short film about Danielle and the Broken Light Collective, pulled from our vault. The BLC is 7 years old and still going strong, one click at a time.