St. Lawrence University to Host Discussions on Photography as a Public Health Tool

CANTON, New York — St. Lawrence University’s Art Collaborative will host “Photographing the Invisible,” a series of conversations and workshops that discuss using photography to cope with mental illness. All events are free and open to the public.

The first will begin at 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 21, in Herring Cole’s Feinstone Room and will feature a dialog with contemporary photographers Joshua Lutz, Kerry Payne and Tara Wray. They will discuss their photography and how they use it as a source to cope with their relationships to mental illness. 

Lutz published Hesitating Beauty, a photography book about his mother’s schizophrenia which uses imagery to understand his struggle with the disease. Payne’s long-term project, “Left Behind,” probes the complicated grief facing those left behind when somebody they love dies by suicide. Wray recently published her photo project, “Too Tired For Sunshine,” as a tool to cope with her depression. In tandem, she created the #tootiredproject, where she encourages people from all over the world to dialogue on social media about depression through photography.

Sarah Knobel, assistant professor of art and art history, and Yiming Huang ’19 will lead a Q&A with the audience and photographers. The goal is to create a dialogue and ask broader questions of how photography relates to our awareness of mental illness. It will close with a reception and custom slideshow from submissions to Wray’s #tootiredproject project.

The second will take place take place at 4:30 on Thursday, Feb. 28, in the Feinstone Room and will feature a conversation with photographer, photo editor, and mental health/wellness writer Danielle Hark. Hark, the creator of Broken Light Collective, a community of photographers who are affected by mental illness. She will present her work and how it relates to her personal coping with depression, anxiety, and bipolar disorder.  

A workshop with Hark, titled “Photographing as a Therapeutic Tool,” will follow her talk from 9 a.m. to noon on Friday, March 1. As Hark will discuss how she has used photography to deal with her depression, the workshop will dive into photographic methods to cope with personal mental illness. 

The workshop will have a maximum of 30 participants and requires an RSVP from those who want to participate. To RSVP, contact or call 315-229-5166.

This event is funded through The Mellon Foundation’s “Wide-Angle Learning: A Humanistic Lens on Public Health” as well as Arts Collaborative and the Department of Art & Art History.

For more information, contact the Department of Art and Art History at 315-229-5166.


About St. Lawrence University

Founded in 1856, St. Lawrence University is a private, independent liberal arts institution of about 2,500 students located in Canton, New York. The educational opportunities at St. Lawrence inspire students and prepare them to be critical and creative thinkers, to find a compass for their lives and careers, and to pursue knowledge and understanding for the benefit of themselves, humanity and the planet. Through its focus on active engagement with ideas in and beyond the classroom, a St. Lawrence education leads students to make connections that transform lives and communities, from the local to the global. Visit

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