Francesca Scelfo


2021 - 2022 , ROME (ITALY)

Voices is a project centered on the experiences of individuals dealing with mental illness, specifically schizophrenia and hallucinations often referred to as ‘voices.’ This project aims to offer a glimpse into the intricate world of those who grapple with these conditions.

In the field of mental disorders, faces often serve as masks, concealing or revealing inner suffering. However, the true essence of mental illness lies beyond mere facial expressions. Faces bear the scars of distress, conveying a need for isolation or a struggle with interpersonal connection.

Mental illness often transports individuals to a world of their own, one inhabited by thoughts and voices rather than conventional imagery. The subjective experience of schizophrenic hallucinations underscores the challenge of maintaining firm ego boundaries against a reality that can feel emotionally invasive and persecutory. This experience blurs the lines between the external world and inner consciousness.

Set against the backdrop of a residential community in Rome, this project explores the contrast between the interconnectedness of community life and the isolation often experienced by those with mental illness. As a psychologist and photographer, I aim to narrate numerous stories that shed light on the complexities of managing mental boundaries, both internally and externally. Sometimes, isolation becomes the most expedient solution, not only for self-stigmatizing patients but also for those who interact with them, struggling with testing their boundaries.