Full Interview with Rob Engelquist, to see his photos go here
What was your reason for getting Headshots?
Ever since i was a boy i dreamed of being an actor, unfortunatley that dream never came true. I think what holds me back now is my paranoia of going places, though i still have hope that my dream will one day come true and when that day comes im going to need professional head shots, also i do music, rap in particular , and yes i know what you are thinking thats exactly what the world needs another white rapper. I tend to think of my self as a poet and putting my poetry to a dope instrumental using the subject matter of schizophrenia and the stories of my life is a passion of mine. Ive been a rapper ever since i was small, my mom says that even as a kid i always had to rhyme. Im working on an album right now and im going to need a picture for the cover. For the last 3 years i have been writing my autobiography and i will need a picture for that too.Also ive never had professional head shots done, so i thought it would be cool to have some around to look back on when im old n grey, plus it was Kristy who was taking them, a long time friend of mine and an overall amazing person who made the photo shoot a total blast, much love Kristy!
Can you share a little about your life story and what you would like people to know, we know & love that you are so open to share about your mental illness
This is a question that i could write about for days, so i'll try to make my answer as short as possible. When i was 18 i was diagnosed with schizo affective disorder, a form of schizophrenia, paranoid schizophrenia in my case. As a child i heard strange and distorted voices inside and outside of my head, i also suffered from vivid halucinations that left me feeling possessed and extremely scared. The mental pain that i endured in the day followed me into my dreams, the demonic screaming that i heard when i was awake stayed with me when i fell asleep, the reacuring night terrors became a nightly accurance , sometimes my parents would find me on the edge of my bed screaming at the top of my lungs like there was something inside of me and i was trying to get it out, i was 3 or 4 years old at the time, and this went on for years and years. As a child i was somewhat shy but had alot of friends. I played rep hockey and would go to different places for hockey tournaments with my dad. One of my main interests was girls and is still one of my main interests to this day. I did well in elementary school but by the time grade 7 came i started showing signs of anger and rebellion trying to make sense of what was going on inside my brain. When i was in grade 8 i started smoking cigarettes and weed, i soon lost all respect for authority and began skipping class to go hang out with my friends getting drunk and stoned. Then the real night mare started, for my parents as well, i would go out durring the day and not come home till the next morning sometimes 2 days later, my parents had no idea where i was, who i was with , or what i was doing. I began doing cocaine, extacy , mushrooms, mystery pills and downing bottles of vodka almost everyday , i was suicidal and angry at the world, i would smash holes in the walls of my parents house, and at the time i remember telling people that i hated my parents. I had zero respect for them and for a long time it was almost dysfunctional , plus i had two younger brothers who looked up to me and witnessed first hand all the crazy shit that went on. I was seeing many different psychiatrists and my parents were trying absolutley anything to get help for me. I became severely depressed and psychotic trying to differenciate fantasy from reality while documenting my life in the many journals that i wrote in and kept.One day i was feeling more suicidal than i've ever felt before, i saw no end to my suffering and my head was filled with over whelming thoughts of insanity, it grew and grew till i could no longer handle it, that day i completley destroyed my bedroom breaking the mirrors with my fists, smashing all the furniture to pieces, banging my head on the floor and stabbing my matress with one of the knives i had collected. My room looked like a war zone as i screamed in terror, crying and wishing i would die, i didnt know what else to do and i was at the point of no return. That day i took my first ativan. I was soon prescribed ritalin and after a few days i began snorting it and my problem only became worse. I dropped out of school and when i decided to go back i got expelled, i then went to a special program but got nowhere. When i was 18 i got more sick and i admitted my self into the r.c.h psych ward where i spent 3 months.
The next year on my 19th birthday i got admitted into riverview hospital where i spent another 3 months, i was then prescribed clozapine, the same medication i've been on for the last 13 years. I was given the diagnosis of schizo affective disorder, but id like you to know that's not who i am rather something i have. When i was 20 my beloved dog "lucky" passed away, he was my best friend and it took me a while before i got over it. At 21 i became a comedian in a group called 'stand up for mental health" lead by a man named David granirer. I did over 200 shows over an 8 year span. I stopped comedy in 2012 and joined a rap group called "eff el u crew" and recorded a bunch of songs on a few albums. For a while when i was 22 i lived on my own but soon came back to live with my parents, where i am now. These days i have extreme paranoia and o.c.d. which usualy has control over my days, i dont go out much and if i do i become dillusional and scared with powerfull thoughts that people are trying to get me and that they are watching me where ever i go. My whole objective in life is to spread the love that the world needs so desperatley, i try to be kind and sincere to every one i meet and give joy to peoples lives. I recently quit smoking weed about 7 months ago, i smoked for almost 19 years and i thought that i needed it to survive, now im living my life completeley sober except for alot of coffee and plenty of cigarettes. I spend my days writing and listening to old vinyl records hanging out with my cat maddy and cooking dinner for my parents. Cooking is something i love to do, every single day, it's my passion and my joy. I also teach police officers about mental illness something that they defenitley need to know, they realy seem to love it and get alot out of it. If i had more time i would go on and tell you things about my life i havent said yet but i think this will give you a little bit of insight of the life that i've lived and the one im living now. Life is defenitley not the same as it used to be and over the years i've learnt alot and have calmed down from the crazy teenager i once was, now i write about it hoping to help kids who may be going through some of the same stuff i went through. I have so many hopes and dreams aspirations and goals and im slowly trying to reach them all, one step at a time...
What are your hopes for the future, what projects do you have in the works?
I dont live the life of a normal 32 year old man, my goals and aspirations are not like most people my age, i live a quiet and bland life spending my days writing at home, the place im most comfortable. When i was in my early 20's i thought alot about having a wife and children one day, living in a big house and taking my kids to hockey practice and giving them the best life possible. Now 10 years later i've realized that i dont think that is going to happen. Life has realy just passed me by and all the goals i once had fell to pieces and im defenitley not where i thought id be, but enough with the sob story. As i've allready said im writing an autobiography and i plan on getting it published as soon as im finished writing it. It's been a project that i've been working on for the last 3 years, i would also like to release a solo album that i've been slowly working on writing a song every 3 or 4 days and picking out the ones i think are the best. One day i would like to be in the position to help other people, maybe a drug counselor , a mental health advocate or even help troubled youth who may be going through some of the same stuff that i went through as a young adult, and who knows maybe my dream of becoming an actor will someday come true. Till then im perfectly content with what im doing now, which isnt much but im generaly happy. Oh i almost forgot, one day i would also like to have my own food truck or own a restaurantand be the head chef, cooking is something i absolutley love, and i do it every single day!!
I mostly photograph women - what would be an uplifting message you’d want to send to the ladies
This is a message to all the wonderful women out there who are struggling with body image, mental health issues, confidence, self doubt and everything else in between , this goes out to all the single mothers, young teen girls and every woman who has ever lost a child. This is for all the strong women who face the daily challenges of dealing with us males who sometimesmake it difficult to keep your composure and do all the wonderful things you do. Some of the most important people in my life are women and i have an everlasting amount of respect and appreciation for them for everything they do, every single day to make my life as good as it is, while always managing to make it through all the bull shit and remain as strong as they are no matter what may come their way.. To all the young girls, be proud of who you are, and if a boy doesn't like you for who you are or another girl doesn't like you for who you are, do not try to change your beautiful self, for one day the right person is going to fall in love with the exact who you truly are, be true to your self and never sell your self short. Im not a girl so i dont know what it's like to be one, but i do know that boys will say and do anything to try and take your self morals away from you, and say and do things to get you to have sex with them, but with saying that, remember that gentlemen do exist, and a true gentlemen will never make you feel less than the amazing young woman you are. A gentlemen will be kind and sincere, he will never make you do something that you are not comfortable with, so let your true colors fly, love your self deeply, love your body and love every one else the same. Empowering women is something i truly believe in and getting your picture taken and showing the world your beautiful self is a great place to start, i encourage all women to have the confidence to get in front of the camera no matter how big or small you are.Do not doubt your self, be proud of the body you were given, there is no right body size and you will be so glad that you got in front of that camera while overcoming so many of the obstacles that may have stood in your way. Also when you are much older you can look back and reminisce about the days when you were young, and that one special day you decided to get your picture taken. Kristy will make you feel so, so good about your self, she is a very special woman and you will not regret getting your head shots done by her, i gaurantee that., much love to all the awesome women out there, love your self and be kind to your self, and get your picture taken!!!
Where can people connect with you, if they want to?
if any body ever wanted to contact me, you can via e mail, my adress is firstname.lastname@example.org, or through good ol' face book
Can you recommend any resources for people to reach out to for mental illness issues.
getting help for certain things like mentall illness or other such disorders, can be very trying, and at times hard, but i encourage you not to give up, fraser health is a good resource, and i suggest finding some one who you feel comfortable with, express your self the best you can and describe every thing you feel, use medication for a last resort, and remember that drugs only make the situation worse, alot worse, reach out to your family and friends, i never realy felt comfortable talking to a stranger or some one who seems like they dont care so if you are like me, then i give you permission to contact me through e mail, i truly care and will listen and help you to the best of my ability, stay strong people , and remember to love, love, love.... yours truly Robbie engelquist...