Graduate Work Spotlight: Nik Roche

The Budgie Died Instantly

'I'm not interested in what something looks like, I want to know what it feels like'. Duane Michals (2007)

This is a fully immersive documentary of human experience. It is without moral judgement in an attempt to raise awareness of the impact and subsequent effects of institutionalisation and addiction. Often, drug misuse is one of the many coping mechanisms used to self medicate against struggles with trauma related mental wellbeing.

I created this work in response to a chance meeting with someone who had been in prison for a significant part of his adult life. We formed an unusual friendship. It is important to me to highlight the misunderstanding that is ever present in society regarding addiction and crime. Often, these are the result of a traumatic childhood.

This is the story of one man, however it applies to many people caught up in a cycle of addiction and institutionalisation usually as a result of un-treated mental health issues. The story explores a state of mind and a sense of place. It is about humanity and connected life experiences.

I believe it is important to earn the right to photograph in the place that you do not come from. I earned my right by fully immersing myself into his life and learning the reality of his everyday. Without prejudice, my images show a raw insight and honest reflection of a place and how this impacts a person's ability to recover. It is a stark reminder of the difficulties that are faced daily.