A Daughter’s Powerful Photo Document of Her Mother’s Mental Illness

A photographic examination of how bipolar disorder can affect a family.

Brooklyn-based artist Melissa Spitz documents her mother’s mental illness for a photo series called You Have Nothing to Worry About. The years-long project shows Spitz’s bipolar mother coping with day-to-day life — raw, intimate, and emotional scenes, with an occasional element of theatricality. As Spitz explained in an interview with Broadly last year, “Sometimes I feel like the work gets very sugarcoated, because she is not a victim. She likes to be photographed and she likes to do these woe-is-me things and I think that’s why she loves doing the project, because she gets to be on this stage. There is so much power in that.” Sometimes Spitz appears in the images, but even when she doesn’t, she feels that she — and their relationship — is frequently represented. “There’s a photo I made of my mom screaming on a bench . . . She had this pain in her voice and . . . I was like, This is how I feel. All of a sudden, it was like this echo. Not only is this me documenting my mom, but it’s me using her metaphorically as what’s going on in my life and vice versa.” See more of Spitz’s powerful photographs in our gallery.