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I Never Learned To Dance Gregers Tycho 2015 MTHM books
Photography by Gregers Tycho

Putting mental health through the camera lens

This photographer is breaking down stigma by offering a glimpse into the world of a Danish psychiatric housing centre

On the Danish island of Zealand sits Lindegårdshusene, a psychiatric housing centre. For photographer Gregers Tycho, who lived nearby as a child, some of his earliest memories stem from there. “The hospital was a playground for the kids in the neighbourhood, so we did almost everything over there. I remember the feeling that this was a forbidden place for us to play,” he recalls. It was through these childhood games that Tycho would first meet the residents of Lindegårdshusene, who would later become the subjects for his latest book Never Learned to Dance. The title itself is a nod to the positivity Tycho experienced while working on the project: “For me it is like, 'Alright, I might not never have learned how to dance, so I have to find a another way to find joy in my life'.”

Glimpses into the everyday lives of Lindegårdshusene's residents – painted toenails, a laughing woman on her bed, and birds taking flight through a lush green garden – Never Learned To Dance aims to break down the stigma surrounding mental illness by offering a window into their world. “Mental illness should not be a stigma,” he says. “Lets talk about mental illness the same way as we talk about a broken leg or any other illness.”

Never Learned To Dance is available now from MTMH Books now