A Northchurch photographer who has has just published an impressive and moving book about his brother’s mental illness is giving a talk at Waterstones in Berkhamsted on Thursday September 27.
Big Brother is an intimate photographic portrait of Louis Quail’s older brother, Justin, aged 59, and his daily struggle with severe schizophrenia.
Justin has been sectioned three times in his life.
Yet, as the book shows, there is much more to him than his illness. He has interests and hobbies including painting, poetry and especially birdwatching.
He also has love, and has been with his girlfriend, Jackie, for over 20 years.
By showing the person beyond the illness, Big Brother challenges stigma head on and reveals a system in crisis.
As well as pages of Louis’ stunning photographs and narrative in which he tells Justin’s story, the book includes some of Justin’s own drawings, paintings and poetry.
Cleverly produced inserts provide an insight into Justin’s world, through extracts from medical reports, police records and his own notebooks.
Particularly insightful are the pages where Louis details Justin’s dealings with those in authority, exposing “a system which is under resourced and struggling under the weight of its own bureaucacy”.
Louis, aged 51, raised £12,500 via a Kickstarter appeal in order to publish the beautifully produced hardback volume, which costs £35 from Waterstones or via firstname.lastname@example.org
Louis will be talking about the background to the book and the themes it contains at Waterstones, Berkhamsted at 6.30pm on Thursday September 27.