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My Hopes with Beauty In Normalcy - Why I do what I do.

My name is Anthony, and I set up Beauty In Normalcy with the aim of looking for, finding, depicting and sharing beauty in all its forms. A form of help for my own mental health and hoping to support and empathise with others. I am hoping with all of my creative work I do under this banner of mine; for now poetry, self-publishing, photography, selling prints, photography as a service or volunteering, or even my endeavours to running 1-1 workshops in therapeutic photography all with the aim of helping others, making a difference no matter how small, in which I can do myself. I am hoping, once I have organised some administration and getting around the difficulties I’ve had with setting up that I can organise 30% of all the profits to be donated to the “National Autistic Society”, to help in their work.

I’ve not interacted with the charity, but personally for my journey Autism is a crucial part, it makes me who I am, both in positive and negative aspects. It allows me deep focus on a goal I’m aiming for, even at the detriment of forgetting to eat, being so engrossed in focus. It determines the way I see the world, see my place in it, my compassion wanting to help others, and my artistic work. Hence they are the charity I hope all my work to also play a part in supporting.

Even the writing of this, after a stressful 2 weeks of researching into admin for setting myself up as a sole trader for this endeavour, is a way for helping me to put into perspective why I’m undergoing the stress, why I am, and want to do this. I spend almost all of my free time on photography, poetry and my other creative areas. After lots of people have been asking me if I am selling my photos or other arts, I’ve decided to try again to do so, to raise money, and just do what I can.

Autistic people often specialise in what are known as their ‘special interests’, something they excel and spend almost all their time doing and putting their effort into. I do so now and am hoping whatever may come of it can be used to help others. As it’s something I do and will do regardless of if it’s ‘profitable’, as so far I keep investing as it’s my hobby, my special interest. As with all of these creative interests, they are my life, and hence I’m creating anyway.

In trying to make Beauty In Normalcy my brand, I’m both worried and apprehensive, as I’m new to this and in many ways have no idea what I am doing. But at the same time, I know why I am, and that I am going to do it. I’ve been writing poetry almost daily for around 6 years, and doing photography for 2, all surrounding a similar goal of mine, to help, to empathise, express, and live. The aim for this hasn’t ever been a profit, I do his as a hobby, it’s an integral part of me, I already fund my hobby but the hopes with this is to see my skills grow as they have already since picking up my creative arts. Something I’m so glad to have met people, and networked with many talented artists who have supported me and given me advice, help, ideas, inspiration and networking opportunities so I have learnt a lot, in my special subject. Hence my goal here is to sell my work, not by necessity, but if people like my work, and I hope to do more to do work on mental health, teach photography, and/or therapeutic photography, sell works, write poetry and self-publish (I’ve already got a book almost finalised but can’t decide the order of the poems).

It’s been totally heart-warming to see the feedback I’ve had with people throughout my art, a random guy in Falmer Bar who helps with male mental health saw my work and commended it for tackling a taboo subject, many other people including a random person in the street who asked me if I had 50p we spent some time chatting about photography and my work around mental health. I had an art crit with the Brighton Artists Network where many people had nice things to say, questions about my motivations and composition, with one person asking about where to find my poetry, but also another who said that they could see, feel and know the feeling behind each photo I showed them saying they could place themselves in every photo. All of these were touching, especially the latter, because as I had mentioned in response, it’s good to hear people can relate to the images, people see themselves in the photo, even if it has different meaning or reference. It is difficult putting an emotion into a photograph, even more difficult doing this for both yourself and others. I would also say a very large thanks to Daniel Regan for the great inspiration in mental health photography, which is everything I do, even in different formats. A photographer who I was brought attention to when I applied for funds and mentoring to make my Project Empathy a reality, it was unsuccessful, but I messaged Daniel about this work being inspirational on the bus back home from the interview. Later I made Project Empathy myself, hands-on and now it’s an ever-ongoing project.

So this is me, this is Beauty in Normalcy, this is what I do and why I do it. I don’t do it for profit because I do it for the meaning behind it. If it helps people, or me, or people relate or ‘empathise’ with it or gain something from it. Then that’s good enough for me. If I make money for it, that’s validation, but even in this I want to donate some of every piece of work sold, work done, etc. to charity. Thanks for reading!

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