N.S. man living with schizophrenia combining passion for flight and photography
A Nova Scotia man diagnosed with schizophrenia is capturing more than just images when he snaps a shot.
As an air cadet, Christian Herridge dreamed of being a pilot. But that dream was grounded following his diagnoses.
But on a wing and a prayer, he found Christopher Ball – a cinematographer, and also a flight instructor.
Together, they combine both of their passions to create aerial photography.
"It was really special because not only did he have a dream of being a pilot, so he was able to experience that, but also get photographs he wanted,” said Ball. “Just a great feeling to be able to take him up."
And it’s a rush for Herridge.
"It feels exhilarating,” he said. “You're up so high and go so fast."
Herridge was first diagnosed at 15, and struggled not just with schizophrenia, but social stigma.
"At first, people alienated him,” said his father, Bruce Herridge. “He wasn't accepted."
And his battle with mental illness was compounded by being born with DiGeorge syndrome. It led to life-threatening challenges.
"He has congestive heart failure,” said Herridge’s mother, Ruth. “He has an aneurism of the heart. He has one kidney. This is all to do with DiGeorge syndrome. He also just recently diagnosed with Parkinson’s, as well."
Despite everything, he does have something to bring a smile to his face – taking photos.
"He took an interest in what I was doing with photography, so I thought let's give it a try,” said Bruce Herridge. “I bought him a cheap throw-away camera. He played with that and I thought he showed promise."
Five upgraded cameras later, and now he’s selling his work.
"They say my work is beautiful," said Herridge.
His parents say Christian, and the community, have come a long way.
"No matter where we go he's recognized and his work is recognized," said Bruce Herridge.
It is a family affair – advice from dad on photography, and mom is the official cropper and framer.
"Everybody in this world has a purpose,” said Ruth Herridge. “He was given to us for a reason, and this is his reason."
With files from CTV Atlantic’s Marie Adsett.