A Photographic Exploration Of Overcoming Anxiety

Outside The Lines’ is the series by South African photographer Anne Nobels, which uses the female form as a motif for personal strength in overcoming crippling panic attacks.

Nobels, who lives and works in the Netherlands, is fascinated by the theme of human vulnerability. Nobels herself suffers from anxiety and uses photography as a mechanism to cope with the daily challenges of living with mental illness. She describes the symptoms viscerally, whereby her senses are heightened and daily tasks become difficult: “When it gets too much for me to handle, I’ll get a panic attack. This generally happens once or twice a day”, she admits. However not all days are bad, and on better days she heads out to shoot on her camera. “This project started that way”, she explains. “When I feel good I still feel like my senses are heightened, it makes the places I see almost every day seem un-earthlike”. ‘Outside The Lines’ sits at the boundary between reality and fiction, where Nobels aims to show that our perception is informed by our experiences and emotions. “And I’d like to show people that although an illness or condition makes you feel (very) limited, it can have positive side effects”. You need to be willing to look for them, she adds, because “It’s so easy to get stuck in the bad, but in my opinion, it’s worth a try. It could change the way you feel about your life considerably”.


All images © Anne Nobels