A new frame of mind: A photographer’s journey managing her mental health with a new medium

When her sister introduced her to the art of capturing a moment, sophomore Regina Garcia fell in love with photography.
Prior to picking up the camera, Garcia managed her mental health through music, but she said she needed another art form to convey her feelings to both herself and others.
“I love to do portraits,” Garcia said. “I love people’s expressions and capturing them in their natural state because I think It’s a great way to capture important moments and to capture people’s natural way of being.”
Garcia said taking pictures helped her become more confident in herself and grow out of her comfort zone.
“I normally photograph strangers,” Garcia said. “I normally just walk up and ask, ‘Hey, I’m an amateur photographer. I’d love to take your picture.’”
Garcia said taking pictures has helped her gain confidence, not just with talking to new people, but with finding the value in her work.
“[My parents are] always reminding me that even though I might not see the worth in my work, there definitely is,” she said.
Garcia’s parents helped foster her love for photography by driving her to photoshoot locations, buying her a camera and supporting her through her journey with photo competitions.
She has won two Regional Scholastic Art Awards, or Keys, in photography over the past two years.
“[My parents] didn’t think I was going to win a Golden Key and they reminded me, ‘Hey, this is your first time entering the contest. Don’t get your hopes up,’” Garcia said. “But when I won, I felt so confident in myself. I [was] like, ‘Yes, I deserve this.’”
Garcia said her sisters also play a role in encouraging her art.
“They’re also always reminding me how my work is worth, and how even though my mental health might not allow me to see it, it has worth and it can help other people,” Garcia said.
One of Garcia’s works, “Control,” surrounds the topic of eating disorders and depicts a person holding a plate of tape measures.
“I’m a person [who struggles] with eating disorders,” Garcia said. “When people that struggle with eating disorders see food, they don’t see food. They see numbers. They see weight gain.”
Another one of her prize-winning works, “Drowning,” centers around depression.
“[The picture] is water splashing on a person, and it’s a black and white photo,” Garcia said. “It’s to represent how depression can make you feel like you’re drowning.”
Garcia said she hopes to get her art into magazines and art galleries in the future.
“Photography is a great outlet for anyone that needs help expressing themselves,” Garcia said. “It’s a fantastic way to sort through your feelings and to gain confidence in yourself.”