[S20S] Ark Bunyi on Pursuing his Passion for Photography and Battling Chronic Depression

Welcome to Something by 20-something! In this blog segment, I interview some fellow yuppies about life after college, career, relationships, and transitioning to this whole adult thing. This segment aims to share real-life stories and insights on “The Real World” by 20-somethings so we, other 20-somethings of the world, can learn more about each other and have a better understanding of our common struggles and difficulties.

For today, I interviewed my friend MJ “Ark” Bunyi about his passion for photography and his ongoing battle with chronic depression. The interview happened on November 5 from 6:18pm to 8:20pm through Viber for Desktop.

 

PIN010_Ark_Bunyi

 

Mailan
Hello, MJ. Thank you for granting me this interview. You’re really one of those first few people that I’d like to interview for my blog feature ‘Something by 20-something’ because I really like your life story.
So how’s your day today? *smile emoji*

Ark
Hi, Mailan, thanks for including me in your list. I’m doing better than expected. How about you?

Mailan
I’m better than the last time we talked. HAHA.
I know I’ve already asked in the pre-interview how you were and I’d just like to say again that I’m sincerely happy to know that you’re doing fine. Long time, no talk. *smile emoji*

Ark
Good to hear that you’re better than last time. Yep, indeed. Long time no talk.

Mailan
(Thank you!) I know you are very passionate about photography. What got you started?

Ark
To answer your question. Ever since I was young I have already loved the arts, and I started taking interest in photography when I got a present from my grandparent, a polaroid camera back in the 90’s. But I started to really get into photography when smart phones came to be. Photography just gave me this sense of expression even though I was just using a smart phone. So, after I graduated college I bought my own DSLR it was a Nikon D5100 and then I just fell more in love with photography.

Mailan
Why do you mostly take photos of people? I’ve noticed.

Ark
Mainly because people are very expressive, very raw. And I find it challenging and exciting to capture the rawness of them. I know you see I mainly do themed or conceptual photography but that just mainly because I want to experiment and see how people will look with a specific set up, with make up, and with props. But of course those kinds of shoots are mainly focused on me creating my portfolio. I do love taking candid photos of people specially when they’re not looking because I find moments like that that they show a vulnerable side to them.
It’s just that there’s so many possibilities to create not just photos of those people but creating a more lasting memory as well’.

Mailan
What’s that one photo that you shot that’s your all-time favorite?

Ark
The one photo that’s my all time favorite is the one I took during a Daang Cruz here in our area. It was a re-enactment of the story of Christ. Mind you, I am an agnostic, but yes that is my favorite photo. Just to give you a bit of how and why I had that shot was because I was asked by my aunt to take photos for that specific even and I actually never expected that I’d produce that one specific photo. So, there. Here I’ll send you the photo for reference.

Mailan
YAY

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Mailan
Wow. It’s really good. This was impromptu, right?

Ark
Yes, this was. I was just following them since this was a re-enactment and found myself in a corner and saw that scene and at that moment I knew I need to take that shot. Thank you, by the way. (smiley)

Mailan
It has a lingering effect. Honestly. It’s well-timed.

Ark
It was indeed. It was just one of those moments.

Mailan
Do you offer professional photography services? Any specializations?

Ark
Yes, I do offer professional service, mainly focusing on portraits, child photography, food, model portfolio, and family. Though to be honest I do not advertise myself. At least not yet.

Mailan
Why not yet, if I may ask?

Ark
Because I still feel that I lack experience to officially tag myself as a photographer. And for some reason to be honest I think my work still needs more polishing before I can go ahead and advertise myself.

Mailan
I see. I trust you’ll get there. *smile emoji*
What’s the most challenging part of being a photographer?

Ark
Most challenging part for me personally is just overcoming your (or my) self doubt. Thinking that I’d never be good enough to actually make this as a profession.

Mailan
Was there a time that you wanted to give up on photography?

Ark
Yes, a lot of time actually, but I just kept coming back because it’s my passion. And I love doing it. I love taking pictures.

Mailan
I see. I think it’s true love. *smile emoji*

Ark
In a sense, it actually is. *smile emoji*

Mailan
What is that one thing that you wish you did or you knew very early on in your photographer life?

Ark
That I should have established my connections during the days when I was just starting. And that I should have been more courageous in terms of presenting myself and my works to others.

Mailan
Networking really works miracles. As an introvert, it’s one of those necessarily evils for me. HAHA

Ark
I could not agree more. Well, I’m somewhat of an introvert myself though it doesn’t show. But I think that for personal and professional growth networking is essential. Making and meeting the right people will help you in so many ways that you could never have imagined.

Mailan
WORD. We have to work on our networking skills. HAHA
Do you have a dream shoot?

Ark
I do, Right now it’s still far from my reach but someday I would want to be able to work for prestigious magazines like People, Time, Nat Geo, also being able to shoot those “A list celebrities” and publishing my works and seeing them in billboards or magazines.

Mailan
Aaaw. I call unto the Universe that you get there. Then, I’d have a popular photographer friend in my network. Hehe.

Ark
Hahaha. Thank you, and I to you.

Mailan
Thank you! *smile emoji* So now we’re halfway through the interview. In this part, we’ll talk about your depression. If there’s any question that you’d rather not answer, it’s okay. Just let me know. If at any point too, you’d like to stop. Just let me know and we’ll stop.

Ark
Noted. Ask away *smile emoji*

Mailan
Okay. I understand that you were diagnosed with clinical depression. What happened? Can you tell me about it?

Ark
Clinical/chronic depression, I think this started when I was young, I grew up in a broken family, and a very complicated family set up, though I was not aware of it. I started to realize I had depression when I was in college since I took up BS Nursing, we had subjects that tackled issues of the mind and then I started to realize that what I was feeling was actually depression, not just a simple loaming feeling of some sort.
My depression started to take it’s toll during my 3rd year in college, one of my triggers was actually that I was forced to take up Nursing even though I did not want to. Mind you, I know every course/degree is hard or exhausting but nursing is in a different league of it’s own, were you see people die in a daily basis, some of which actually dies during your care. Then there’s the loads of books we needed to study and memories and all the exams, we hardly ever get time to rest.
At a certain time during my last year in college I just lost it to the point that I already avoided being with friends and just being in a term a “loner”. Though luckily enough I got past that stage and got my degree and passed the board exam.
Anyways, going back to my trigger, so, that was one. Other would mainly be my family and that I do not know what to do next. Since I never really wanted to be a nurse I was stuck at a place where I do not know what job to take.
Eventually I ended up working for the BPO industry, yes, like most of my colleagues, I also ended up there. Do not get me wrong, the BPO industry is actually a very good place to work at if you can handle stress and people. There’s also the undeniable fact that salary wise it has one of the best offers there is,
I have worked for a BPO industry for almost 2 years now and sadly, me working nights also became one of my triggers, so I opted to work for a morning shift. In which I work now.
I started going to a Psychiatric Doctor (PDoc) March of this year. I knew that I needed to consult and get professional treatment because I can no longer handle my depression.
I am still under treatment, just so you know.
Is there any specific thing you want to ask me? So I can address it properly. Don’t worry I’m an open book. And I’m also making it one of my mission to educate people about depression so that the stigma of mental illness would not just be shrugged of like it’s nothing important.

Mailan
Thank you. That’s a very relevant cause, actually. But right now, are you still depressed?

Ark
Yes, there are still times that I crash. But I try my best not to.

Mailan
Okay. What is a typical day like when you crashed and you’re depressed?

Ark
Have you ever felt like you don’t want to go out of bed? You’d probably say yes. It’s like that but more. It’s like you don’t want or can’t move. That you just want to stay at that certain spot till the world ends. Till all your thoughts quiet down. It’s like you’re chained but not physically, but emotional and psychologically. Where time is not even a factor. Where hunger, thirst and the need to pee doesn’t exist. Like that.

Mailan
Oh.

Ark
It’s like you do not have the strength to talk to anyone, nor do you have the want to do so. You’d just want to seclude yourself like a dying cat.

Mailan
You feel nothing?

Ark
Not one bit. It’s like I’m just a shell. Devoid of everything. But at the same time full of everything… negative.

Mailan
You said earlier that you still crash from time to time. If I may ask, what triggered your past few crashes?

Ark
Well, I was unemployed for more than 1 year and 6 months, I was suppose to be back in japan by now but the agency was delayed so, I would probably go back to japan early next year, family issues and a complicated lovelife. hahaha

Mailan
Love life. HAHA. Hey, again, I wish you and your girlfriend happiness and love forevermore. *heart emoji*

Ark
Thank you. Hahaha.

Mailan
So, moving on. What do you do to prevent crashes?

Ark
Well, I’m currently under medication which I call my “happy pill” and “sleepy pill”. Besides that I just do my best to divert or preoccupy myself by reading books, watching movies, editing pictures, meditating and I’d probably go back to doing muay thai by next week.

Mailan
Naks. Going for a sexier, hotter bodeh. That’s my dream too. But I’m lazehhh.

Ark
Going “back.” Hahahaha. I know. It’s like the hardest thing to do, ever! Hahaha.

Mailan
HAHAHAHAHA. Good for you. *smile emoji*
I see people use depression and sadness interchangeably. How is depression different from sadness?

Ark
To put it simply, sadness is a feeling and depression is a mental illness.

Mailan
So you may not be really depressed when you say you’re depressed? You could just be sad?

Ark
Yes. Exactly, depression has criteria’s before you can even say you’re REALLY depressed, as compared to just feeling down in the dumps or sad. Also, sadness is usually just within a set period of time. were as depression can be for years.

Mailan
I see. Okay, down to the third to the last question. What do you think should have been different in your life, so you wouldn’t have had depression?

Ark
If just to be honest to myself, it would be that if I grew up with my mom and dad it would have made a lot of difference.

Mailan
I’m sorry about that. *frown emoji*

Ark
Nothing to be sorry about that. It’s life. *smile emoji*

Mailan
I’m glad that you have that outlook in life. *smile emoji*

Ark
It’s just a matter of perspective I think. Nothing good in dwelling about something that could have been. *smile emoji*

Mailan
People say that creativity and mental illness are strongly linked. Do you agree on this?

Ark
Yes. 100% agree. For some reason arts/creativity is the main medium in which most or majority of the people that I know that have mental illness. It’s like an outlet for me, and I think for others as well.

Mailan
And finally, what advice can you give to those people who are having depression?

Ark
The only advice I can give is: “Fight, It may be difficult but that’s the only option we have. Talk to people, especially to those who know what you are going through, remember you are and will never be alone.” *smile emoji*

Mailan
Okay. This ends our interview. Thank you very much, MJ. Thank you very much for agreeing to be interviewed and for trusting me with these info. I hope everything will keep on getting better. *smile emoji*

Ark
The pleasure is all mine. Thank you very much as well. hoping to read your blog soon *smile emoji*

 

——-

Check out Ark’s Photography page on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/MarkJohnBunyiPhotography

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