MARY DORSEY WANLESS - ARTIST STATEMENT

Paranoia is symptom in which an individual feels as if the world is "out to get" him or her. Paranoia is a very human feeling, and nearly everyone has experienced it at some or another time, to varying degrees.
Individuals suffering from paranoia have intense feelings of distrust, which sometimes lead to overt or covert hostility. They feel very suspicious, and have a sense that other people want to harm them. As a result, they change their reactions in response to a world that they perceive to be personally threatening. To an objective outside observer, it may be quite clear that there are no words or actions are actually threatening the paranoid individual.
Researchers do not fully understand the chemical or physical changes in the brain that cause paranoia. It is a prominent symptom in many mental disorders as well as physical diseases. The use of certain drugs or chemicals may also cause symptoms of paranoia in an otherwise normal individual.
I have recently watched my elderly mother deal with paranoia. It was caused by a reaction to a combination of drugs used for physical ailments, and was cured by discontinuing the medications. However, the resulting paranoid delusions were very real to her and extremely disturbing for me to watch. Through these photographs, I try to understand what it must have been like for her to live trapped in a paranoid existence in her mind.

Marydorsey Wanless
www.marydorseywanless.com