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Willesden Green mum's self-harm photography shortlisted for international prize

PUBLISHED: 14:07 14 June 2019 | UPDATED: 14:07 14 June 2019

Photographer Jude Wacks with her daughter Ellie

Photographer Jude Wacks with her daughter Ellie

©Jude Wacks

A Willesden Green mum has been nominated for an international photography award for her hard-hitting self harm pictures.

Portrait of Alan, taken for the Best Days Of Your Life project:Portrait of Alan, taken for the Best Days Of Your Life project:

Jude Wacks, who lives near Gladstone Park, has had one of her portraits shortlisted by the Wellcome Trust in the Outbreaks category for its international Wellcome Photography Prize.

The portrait comes from her Best Days Of Your Life project which depicts 18 to 20-year-old Londoners who have suffered self-harm - including her own daughter Ellie.

The 50-year-old said: "I am truly honoured for my portrait to be shortlisted alongside works from esteemed international photographers, scientists and researchers."

A mum to four girls, Jude took a "serious interest" in her camera five years ago just as issues surrounding Ellie surfaced.

"It gave me a sense of mindfulness," she said. "It became my therapy."

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Last year she undertook a post graduate diploma at the London College of Communication. "We had to do a personal project and this was mine. It was while I was researching that I came across stats and figures about the rise of self harm pictures on social media and it correlated with my experience. But my thought was that really it's hidden, kids hide it, they pull sleeves down, the viewers hide, they don't want to look at it, they distance themselves, there's denial."

Her project offers an insight into a "taboo" mental health illness and avenues for discussion.

She held three exhibitions - one at LCC, another at the Truman Brewery, and last month at the Head Room Café in Golder's Green.

She added: "I have been truly amazed by the interest the project has generated, humbled by those that it has touched and who have been moved enough to reach out and share their story with me. I've had a number of people reach out wanting to be part of this project.

"But mostly, I am proudest of the eight young people who were all brave and honest enough to step forward and show the world the amazing individuals they truly are. They all felt if they could help one other person reach out publicly or privately, understanding they are not alone, it's a shared feeling and, in a positive way, that's a good thing."

The winner will be announced on July 3 in London and all photographs will be on public display in an exhibition from July 4 to July 13 at Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins, University of the Arts London.

Visit judewacks.com/

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