In conversation With Dylan Hilton

Mental health, the topic that once was so taboo, now trends social media conversations and floods talk shows. 

Something that has always struck me in regards to the present day focus on Mental Health is that we’re raising our children to be able to talk and express more about the struggles they are facing, but what about the people that are already grown, the people that are post adolescent and don’t know how to share? The generational difference in the support that has been offered for those struggling with mental health issues, speaks volumes. 

Speaking with the creative Dylan Hilton about his struggles with depression, anxiety and mental health issues, and the impact that it has had on him.

Photographic documentation is a very powerful way of expressing emotions, how did you first get into taking photos to help aid your Mental Health? 

I’ve always loved taking photos, I’ve kinda been into photography my whole life, my mum was exactly the same when she was my age so I think it came from that. I never intended on it helping me so much. Photography really showed me a different view of the world, I look at everything from a creative standpoint now and focus on the details more. Instead of putting my hood up and trying to hide, I’m actually present in the moment and aware of everything around me. I love the fact that anything, literally anything can become art, nothing is off-limits to me, I could find a brick interesting if it was through a lens

How would you describe your art in a few words for our readers that are new to your work?

A 90s kid in 2019. A vintage view of the modern world. I didn’t have Instagram or an iPhone growing up, I had disposable cameras. So I decided to take my Instagram back in time and create a digital art piece with a nostalgic twist

Was there a pivotal point in your life that helped shaped your creativity today? 

I think being bullied in school for the longest period of time and the mental health issues that stemmed from it are two of the biggest things that shaped me as a person. I used creativity as an output, you have to turn those negative experiences into something positive or they’ll eat you alive. As much as I don’t really talk about mental health or bullying in my work, it’s a very significant factor because my work wouldn’t exist otherwise.

How often do you take photographs, and does your mood influence your creativity? 

Everyday! And I think everyone’s mood influences everything they do, but I also could be in the worst mood and take the prettiest photo.

Not everyone would be brave enough to openly discuss aspects of their life that are so thought provoking. What advice could you give to our readers on how to take their first steps in controlling their Mental Health?

Therapy was the first step, it really taught me what was actually going on inside me but it wasn’t the answer. My goal when I started therapy was to be cured, I don’t know if there is such a thing for anxiety and depression but I’m still not cured to this day, I have bad days and good days like anyone else, just not as extreme anymore. I started trying to look after myself more and saying ‘yes’ to more things, not because I didn’t feel anxious but because I wanted to keep pushing myself further and further, like a workout for the brain, I knew that nobody else could do that for me apart from myself. The most important thing is to talk, reach out to the people who care about you and ask for help, asking for help is the scariest thing you can do but the most important. It might take a few weeks or it might take a few years, but the point is to never give up and you’ll get there eventually. Don’t let the negativity drag you under, be kind to others and be kind to yourself. There’s some dark shit in this world man, especially now and we could all use a little help sometimes. We all have our own issues, and we’re never alone in what we’re going through.

We can see by your photography, there is no contest that you are an incredible photographer has there been other creative mediums such as music that have helped you through your journey?

Thank you so much! A lot of people already know how powerful music is, and it’s been helping me for years. Music has always been a huge part of my life since I was a kid, from jumping around singing Busted songs in my bedroom at 5 years old to listening to Halsey sing about mental health while relating to every lyric in the same bedroom at 19. I honestly don’t know what I’d do without music, my entire life could very easily be summed up in one playlist.

What’s been your biggest inspiration whilst creating your photographic series? 

The places that I’m in and the people that I’m with. I get inspired by so many things on the daily but with this particular series, my biggest inspiration is my own surroundings.

Could you give us a sneak preview of what’s to come?

My goal is to expand into many different categories. I love all different types of creative expression from art to fashion to music, and I don’t wanna be stuck in one lane, I want a thousand different lanes with a thousand different options. I literally started this whole thing 7 months ago so I’m still learning and growing, but I’m very excited to see what comes next. Maybe I’ll drop a clothing line, who knows?

Follow Dylan on Instagram

Words: Persephone Quarme