Who we are & why we are

Welcome to the gallery site of Broken Light Collective. We are artists of all levels and abilities who are affected by mental illness. We create and we share our work for the therapeutic benefits to us, as well as others who may be struggling and feeling scared and alone. Together we can move from disconnected to collective.

Photo taken by contributor Samantha Pugsley, a 24-year-old conceptual fine art photographer from Charlotte, North Carolina. She first picked up a camera during her junior year of college. This was right around the time when she was diagnosed with Generalized Anxiety Disorder. Things that were once easy became impossible for her. Getting dressed in the morning, shopping at the grocery story, driving her car…just living, was a panic attack waiting to happen. Photography helped her heal. With her camera she could start a conversation about what was going on in her head. She could say things with her images that she didn’t know how to say out loud. She still struggles with anxiety but making art helps her talk about it and manage it. She started a 365 photography project to ensure that she’d be doing what brings her joy every single day. She has noticed that her anxiety level is much lower if she spends time with her camera every day.

About this photo: “A lot of my work deals with themes of isolation. Having a mental illness can feel very lonely especially if you don’t open up to others about your struggle. For this image, I thought a lot about how lonely my childhood was. I didn’t have a lot of friends. It was very hard for me to engage socially. When you’re young and you have a hard time making friends, you think there’s something wrong with you and that no one likes you. Now, as an adult, I can reflect and realize that I had an anxiety disorder which prevented me from getting close to others.

Find more from Samantha at her website or flickr.


**Visit Broken Light’s main gallery here. Currently accepting submissions.

*Facebook & Twitter @BrokenLighCo & @DanielleHark. Follow for e-mail notifications.

5 responses to “Childhood Lost”

  1. Cris Avatar

    Interesting take on the subject. It’s a subject I can relate to. Some people have their second childhoods when they reach a certain age. Others, like myself, are having their first childhood. Nice job.
    Come visit my One (Remember)


  2. moodymandi Avatar

    I can very much relate to this…but this is so deep, so beautiful…keep it up!


  3. bpnana Avatar

    Samantha has the gift. Her work is important, on so many levels, and beautiful, as well!


  4. The Crazy Crone Avatar

    Lovely work. I had what I thought then was a lonely childhood but now I can see I’m quite an introverted person and I’ve come back to self-acceptance. Interesting journey, though. I wish you well, Samantha.


  5. Paula McLane Jennings Avatar

    that is an awesome photo and I so relate to the missing parts of childhood. The first child that walked up to me on the first day of Kindergarten simply stated that I was too big and too fat and did not belong in Kindergarten – that I should go to first grade. From that point on I never felt a part of things. I carried this through my early 20s when it ended in my realizing that drugs and alcohol was not the way to live my life. Next week I will be clean and sober for 30 years. I also suffered with an eating disorder which I have been healed of as well. My life is not perfect. I have major depression and general anxiety disorder but I have God in my life, two wonderful sons and a great church family to make up for the family that deserted me when my Mom got Alzheimers disease 10 years ago. The red balloon is so striking against the somber colors of nature in the photo.


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