Never has it been more important to listen to young voices.
We are honoured to present this second exhibition that asked young people to express their emotions through an image. Below you will find a unique collection of extraordinary words and photographs by 10-18 year olds.
Click into the photos to read the full captions.
Prepare to be moved and inspired by the work of this brilliant next generation.
This shows the impact that lockdown had on me. I couldn’t see any of my friends or do the sports that I enjoy doing. We couldn’t go outside or to school, either.
This is how I felt about both myself and the person who bullied me at my previous school.
An image taken beyond the Hayward Gallery along London’s Southbank.
The title “17” relates to the uncanny feeling of a celebratory time. The subject is alone, reflecting on lockdown, COVID, and the effects that they had on these important moments that would normally be celebrated with family and friends.
This image is part of a project I have been working on which revolves around men’s mental health. Society doesn’t take it seriously enough, using derogatory phrases whenever a man shows any kind of emotion. I chose to use phrases such as ‘firm up’, so that young men and boys would relate to it.
Don’t hide your sadness behind fake smiles. Stay true to yourself and don’t be shy to show what you feel!
This captures determination through uncertain times.
This idiosyncratic and emotive piece depicts the peculiar mannerisms of individuality in society. It speaks to the social disparities of mindset and feeling out of place within an overwhelming environment.
My plans suddenly changed and I struggled with the uncertainty that followed.
Even in the darkest of times, our communities are able to come together and help those most in need. The different tones within the umbrella reflect how everyone in this world is connected to one another.
A disconnection from the sense of identity.
I took this picture of the area I like to go to on my own, during the night time. I find the waves so calming and the area is blocked off, so no one can disturb me. Parts of the docks are also falling apart, but that also makes it fun to climb on.
His happy place.
I wanted this self portrait to convey that through the difficult times during the pandemic, no matter how dark the world got, there was always some sort of light to look to.
This photo is about me wanting to push everyone away from me because I felt like I wasn't good enough.
Life is powerful.
I know how it feels to get these sudden and powerful waves of emotion that are full of sadness, loneliness and anxiety. It’s a feeling that I’ve always struggled to describe in words because it’s just so intense and overpowering. So, I chose to focus on the word overwhelming and wanted to express that through my image.
This photo is a comment on a young person’s life, focussing on the uneasiness of being watched and judged and the negative affect that can have on a someone’s life.
My submission is based on how invisible mental health can be. I have used the technique of badger lighting to illuminate one side of the model’s face to represent what people can see. However, the other side of her face – which is in the dark – represents what people can’t see . The leaves represent that people try to cover their issues and not talk about them.
The petal is falling off, and feels tired.
This image represents how we have all felt over the last two years during the pandemic. It feels like we have been living in limbo, trapped in our houses. The levitation aspect represents surrealism, because the times we are living in feel so surreal compared to our normal life.
I wanted to represent the feeling of being trapped, which is how I felt during lockdown. I photographed my brother, who stood behind a mesh material, to create the feeling of something being in the way. I also added lots of different bright colours to the image to make it unusual and abstract, which convey that lockdown felt very surreal.
I created this photograph to represent the unheard voices of young women and girls around the world who suffer in silence and are repressed. I made the image black and white in order to give it a sombre appearance with high levels of contrast. The blindfold represents the world not seeing them, the hands on the ears represent the world not listening, the hands on the mouth represent the world not championing their voices.
Do you feel safer or happier when you are with someone else?
Scopaesthesia is the psychic feeling that you're being watched by an unknown force, causing a constant state of paranoia.
I wanted to express how sometimes growing up can feel confusing and chaotic, like being fired out of a cannon on a trajectory that you can't change. This is a self-portrait so I could vividly express my emotions and thoughts exactly how I wanted to and add a sense of vulnerability.
What confusion looks like in my head.
Sometimes, I feel like I exist in different forms, all of which say “I’m okay”. I feel as if all of that’s going to fade away someday, leaving me with the best version of myself. That feeling can be confusing and it affects decision-making in the teenage life..
The bubble reflects feelings of hope.
This piece is representative of being in a dark place, but showing that there's always something out there for you, despite being small. I've named it Noori, which means "my light".
I feel like I am seeing the world from my sister's perspective, which makes me distressed because she is profoundly and complexly disabled and the world is tough for her.
Here, you can see eyes that are constantly watching and judging you. One wrong move and they are ready to jump on you and reset you to the bottom. And that's what I am feeling.
Darkness hides what we cannot see and although this image embodies facial expressions, we cannot see that which is surrounding it.
This piece addresses period poverty and the stigma around menstrual cycles. It’s visceral and eye-catching. It resonates with many teenagers, because it captures the idea of being watched, judged and overwhelmed. The different opacity shows how complex, hidden and inescapable emotions can be. The direct eye contact of the model along with the red colour scheme is both a cry for help and indication of the teenage mental health epidemic. It creates unity and empathy between the viewer and model, allowing different types of people to connect to it.
This piece was made to be a reference for a painting but I think it shows the meaning I wanted to convey in this form. The person in the image is me.
When I feel stressed, lonely, pensive and contemplative, I tend to dream about the future. This butterfly is representative of the butterfly effect, a theory where one action leads to another, hence the slight block of colours in the picture. I have similar colours to indicate that your dreams can be achieved, despite currently being separate to your reality. The butterfly’s wings represent building up to your dreams through the actions you make.
A half-complete barley harvest, captured in the summer of 2021.
Every day presents a challenge, but I am learning how to cope.
This image represents us taking off the mask and allowing people to see our faces. The emotion in the image can be seen either positively or negatively. Is taking off our masks the right thing to do?
This image represents the harmony and beauty in the environment around us. The model is seeing her version of the world through her view of harmony and hopefulness and we can share that view with her through the colours and boldness of the image. As teenagers, we are the next generation that will be in charge of saving the planet and hopefully restoring the full beauty that once was. The model is imagining the world beyond her reach that she can restore and heal, hence the bandage and being blinded by the harmony of the environment.
A spark of light during a dark time.
My image represents conflicting emotions, the blue right side representing sadness and the orange left side representing anger. The middle side represents the mind trying to process emotions without the world knowing how you’re feeling.
This photograph displays sorrow. I wanted it to feel solemn yet tranquil, so I used a pastel colour palette. I wanted it to have a futuristic appearance, so I included a semi-metallic overlay, which is often seen in the vaporwave style/genre.
The past two years have gone by very quickly, but nothing has changed in my life. I’m at a stand still point. We can see time moving but I continue to stand still.
This tyre, tree and leaves seem to have been in this forest garden forever, never moved or tended to. Nature has been left alone to thrive during lockdown – one of the few positives. It made our planet a much healthier, less polluted one!
We worked really hard to capture this image. The effects took some time to adjust until it looked just right and I was happy with it. The glitter and hair made me feel confident about myself.
Pigeons, often misunderstood and despised, are a staple of the urban wildlife in my hometown of Great Yarmouth, often seen scavenging human scraps! I wanted to show them in a different light.
I love getting up really early to have quiet time to myself. I've got 3 younger brothers, so time alone is really important to me.
This photo portrays unescapable feelings of anxiety and how it can make us feel trapped.
Dissociation is a mental process of disconnecting from your thoughts, feelings, memories or sense of identity.
To create this image, I took a photograph and developed it in the dark room. I then sewed into it with embroidery thread. The thread represents tension and stress being released through vocalisation.
I wanted to capture the sense of peace and freedom, using just a light.
If you keep up an act for so long, you’ll forget yourself. You’ll end up two-faced, not knowing which one is you and which one is false.
This photo represents the chaos that happens in the heads of each and every one of us.
Let me out, let me out! That's how I felt sometimes during lockdown. I just wanted to get away from those four walls and that screen! Wow, my eyes! Trapped, trapped, trapped. Let me out, let me out!
I sometimes feel shy, especially after so long in lockdown and being off school, so I love the idea of hiding behind this waterfall.
I named this piece Puzzled due to the overwhelming colours scattered across the image, showing the feeling of confusion and disfiguration. By using a slow shutter speed, I created a light painting photography. This relates to mental health because as people can feel out of place, so too is this image.
Lost from your way,
you lay on the ground,
desperate to be found.
This is what it feels like when my friends and people at school bully or don't acknowledge me.
I wanted this image to show that not all tears are the same. In fact, crying can represent strength, affection, loss, love, laughter, sorrow, pity and more. Through tears, we can express a myriad of emotions.
Stuck in a dead end job.
This is my best friend Daisy who was reunited this year with my other best friend Sunny. They had missed each other over lockdown. Now we are free to see all of our friends and the feeling of loneliness that I had last year has been replaced with hope and friendship.
This photo shows someone overcoming a rough patch and learning to love themselves.
The old, torn curtains popping out of a rotting window frame made me think about what is must have been like for someone who lived on their own during lockdown, especially an elderly person. They may have been stuck in a cold room with no one to talk to –isolated – feeing it to be too dangerous to go outside. I felt like that at times, but at least I had my family with me.
This shows that, even after grieving, the loss of a loved one still affects us everyday. It’s a feeling that never truly goes away.
The lonely thoughts of being a teenager.
This image was inspired by the fact that mental health in the young is often overlooked and how we are not checked up on enough.
I'm currently living in London, but travelled to my home town in Canada over Christmas break. I was walking through the mountains and felt calm and at peace, so I took this picture to capture the emotion.
The water in this photograph makes it look as if the tree is crying; I love the way this tiny puddle is just sitting on this washed up piece of driftwood. In a way, it looks like an eye with unshed tears.
I have been using prisms and colour to distort my photographs to create a dreamscape. I have been looking at my relationship with my mother and how it is translated through my dreams.
To me, this image sums up the feeling of losing two of my lovely aunties to cancer. The skull is covered in medication labels, giving hope. I keep seeing this skull in school, so I photographed it one day and edited it to show darkness surrounding it. This stirs up a lot of emotion for me.
This photo is accompanied by a poem, both of which represent emotions that I felt in May of the first lockdown. In March, we were told that lockdown would only last a few weeks. By May, many people had lost hope and I wanted to replicate my emotions during this time. The model faded into the dark background represents how there were many days where I forgot the time or date. I shared to poem it show how we hide our feelings to stay strong.
Our esteemed panel of judges have each selected the #MyPhotoMyFeeling that resonates with them most. Click through to find out how they made their very difficult choices from so many powerful entries.
These Judge’s Choice images will feature in our mega billboard campaign – live from the 5th – 11th April – look out for them across the UK and you might see your work up on the big screens!
I wanted this image to show that not all tears are the same. In fact, crying can represent strength, affection, loss, love, laughter, sorrow, pity and more. Through tears, we can express a myriad of emotions.
MEET THE JUDGES
Soma is an activist who began sharing her experiences of rape culture on Instagram in June 2020. In light of the overwhelming response from those that resonated with her story Soma founded Everyone’s Invited which consists of an anonymous space for survivors to share their stories.
Everyone’s Invited has sparked a conversation with millions of people and has since provoked the launch of the NSPCC abuse in education helpline and an Ofsted review in schools. Soma has also been included in British’s Vogue 25 and has won the 2021 Harper’s Bazaar activist of the year award. She has written for The Times, The Telegraph, Tortoise Media among others.
Nicky is editor-in-chief of First News, the UK’s only newspaper for children with 2.3 million readers (more than The Times, Telegraph and Guardian put together) which she launched in 2006. Nearly half of UK schools subscribe to First News. Nicky was BBC Worldwide’s children’s editorial director for 14 years, where she sat on the brand development board for new programmes, and was part of the commissioning team. She is also CEO of Fresh Start Media, one of the UK’s best known production companies for children’s factual content, including Sky News children’s show, FYI, a weekly current affairs programme for young people. In 2009, Nicky was made an MBE by the Queen for services to children and was given a Patron’s award from the NSPCC for dedication to children. She is passionate about giving kids a voice and a fair deal. First News has been awarded Weekly National Newspaper of the Year in the UK and Save The Children gave the newspaper its award for outstanding contribution to children. In 2014 Nicky was a Woman of Achievement in the Women of the Year Awards. She is Patron of the British Youth Citizen Awards and the Global Teacher Prize. She says children are 27% of the world’s people but 100% of the future.
Nicky’s passion is to give children a voice, to include them in the global conversation and to help them become active and engaged world citizens. She says that the world will only become a better place if the next generation is better informed than the last.
Mike is a photographer and videographer who found success at a young age on YouTube uploading BMX videos. He now produces high-quality work for clients whilst maintaining his YouTube channel and Tiktok, with a big focus on photography tutorials.
His work demonstrates his incredible talent for street photography, and his amazing ability to capture small moments and transform them into powerful and striking images.
Dr Mark Sealy, Executive Director of Autograph (1991 – ) and Professor Designate Jan 2022 University Arts London. Sealy is interested in the relationship between photography and social change, identity politics, race, and human rights. He has written for many of the world’s leading photographic journals, produced numerous artist publications, curated exhibitions, and commissioned photographers and filmmakers worldwide. In addition, he is an advisor (management & committees) to several leading cultural institutions.
“In an age of increasing uncertainty and anxieties, the young often bear the brunt of social pressure. Therefore, initiatives of this nature are vital as they provide essential outlets for young people to communicate how we are as a society through the lens of their lives.”
Lee is a Senior Advisor at Getty Images having previously been a member of the Executive Committee and the Senior Vice President for EMEA and Asia Pac. Lee was the joint managing Director of Allsport and has covered 18 Summer and Winter Olympic Games. As well as being Vice Chairman, a trustee and board member of Fight 4 change, he sits on the board of Black Prince Trust, The Photography Movement, Foley Boxing Club and the Dylan Howells Foundation.
“The Show and Tell Project and the wider Photography Movement are shining a bright light for education around Mental health issues particularly in schools and for younger generations. Show and Tell could not be more vital work.”
John has been a creative all his life but photography is a creative outlet he always falls in love with. Photo’s help him create a visual diary of his life and allow him to search for beauty in the everyday world around him. It is his rose tinted lens on the world and he has found that having a camera in your hand can be a great conduit for connecting with the people around us.
“I am supporting Show and Tell as I have personally seen the mental health benefits of photography and its surrounding community and instant output of a digital image can be really rewarding when you get that great image.”
Jane is a documentary photographer from a small town in Scotland who loves to collaborate on a wide mix of projects with pals and clients including Nike, Under Armour, Adidas, Rapha, Rolls-Royce, Red Bull, Formula 1, Arcade Fire and the New York Times. Jane loves to document moments, share stories, collaborate and make good things happen
“I’m supporting Show and Tell as I think it’s important for young people to share their feelings through photography.”
Danny is a Ugandan-British photographer based in London and New York. An interest in the world of film and television led him to a degree in film studies, where he picked up an interest in fashion photography. His background in film heavily influences the way he approaches forming a still image, always aiming to bring a sense of purity, joy and beauty in its many forms.
His cinematic and prolific work includes covers and features in some of the world’s most notable magazines and brands including: Vogue UK/US, British GQ, Nylon, Esquire, Elle UK and the New York times. Danny’s work is celebrated throughout the industry and his impact can be surely felt – creating powerful images, promoting diversity and inclusivity.
Cassie Roach is Vice President of Global Public Sector at Cisco, leading strategy and transformational growth. She is passionate about diversity, equity, and inclusion, and the impact technology can make to power inclusive communities, revitalize economies, and narrow the digital divide.
“Creativity, human connection, and mental health go hand in hand; as we power an inclusive future for all, Cisco is proud to partner with Show & Tell to improve the mental health and engagement of young people through photography.”
Casey is a London-based photographer and printer with a focus on the natural world. Born in Invercargill, but raised in Switzerland and later London, Moore has kept a narrative of reconnection with his homeland through his work. This narrative is apparent in the way Moore photographs his subjects with a careful consideration of place as well as a deep connection to materials.
Photograph courtesy of Steve Pyke
“Taking pictures helps us to appreciate the world around us and to lose ourselves in the moment through the feeling of flow, of being fully focussed.”
Caroline is a picture editor for The Guardian Saturday magazine. With over 20 years experience of commissioning a wide range of photography and reviewing photo-stories and proposals for publication, she is regularly invited to review portfolios at international photo festivals and has also acted as a judge for many leading photography competitions and awards. In 2017, Caroline was a nominator for the Deutsche Börse prize, and in 2019 & 2020 she was awarded Picture Editor of the year (with colleague Kate Edwards) by the British Society of Magazine Editors’ (BSME) Talent Awards. Caroline has been a TV judge on Sky Arts’ Master of Photography, and in 2021 she appeared as a guest expert on Rankin’s 2020.
“I’m supporting Show and Tell/Young Mental health as I believe that the well-being of our young people is incredibly important, especially in light of the pandemic, and all the challenges it has brought. The act of creating images can help to alleviate anxiety and stress, and creative expression through photography can help young people to better explore their emotions.”
Anna Richardson is an established household name and award winning writer and presenter with over 25 years’ experience at the heart of British Broadcasting. She is as comfortable hosting popular Factual Entertainment shows such as Channel 4’s headline grabbing Naked Attraction – as she is leading hard-hitting documentaries like Are You Autistic? With a particular interest in lifestyle and mental health, she is the co-founder of the online therapy centre Mindbox, author of two books on food and dieting, a frequent podcast host and a qualified Cognitive Hypnotherapist.
“After two years of lockdown, insecurity, and fear caused by the Covid 19 pandemic, it’s no wonder that we’re all starting to feel the effects of frustration, isolation and anxiety. Imagine how much more bewildering it must be for the younger generation? That’s why the Show and Tell exhibition My Photo My Feeling is so important – it’s a way for young people to express their innermost feelings without fear or judgment, whilst also learning a creative skill. All of which is absolutely crucial for supporting good mental health.”
Akram is one of the most celebrated and respected dance artists of today. His body of work spans over 19 years, and has contributed significantly to the arts in the UK and worldwide. His reputation has been built on the success of imaginative, highly accessible and relevant productions such as XENOS, Until the Lions and zero degrees. He has collaborated with world-class artists from other cultures and disciplines, such as the National Ballet of China, visual artist Anish Kapoor and Antony Gormley as well as composer Ben Frost, among others.
He has received a multitude of awards such as the Laurence Oliver Award, the Bessie Award, the ISPA Distinguished Artist Award among others. He is an Associate Artist of Sadler’s Wells and Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts., London and Curve, Leicester.
Adrian is a British writer, performer and photographer best known for his online comedy sketches which explore everything from history to natural science to religion. Gaining insight from his work with other diverse creators, Adrian first posted videos portraying a futuristic social-media-dominated world, which along with the popular Vlogvember series have earned him over 1.3 million subscribers on YouTube. In 2018 Adrian’s photography was exhibited in the Natural History Museum as part of The Wildlife Photographer of The Year competition. His photograph of a fox in the Chernobyl Exclusion Zone was one of one hundred entries selected.
“I’m supporting Show and Tell because I believe that the creative freedom photography affords, as well as its relatively recent accessibility, makes it the perfect medium to help young people express difficult thoughts and feelings that they perhaps cannot put into words.”
Adnan is an 11 year old student and one of the judges favourite from last year’s Show and Tell Exhibition with his incredible photo entitled Sorrow. Show and Tell has helped him to connect with his feelings and express who he really is.
The Cisco Photography Awards
We are absolutely thrilled to reward a selection of schools and young people across the UK with a professional photography pack to encourage further mindful photography practice.