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Star News Group
BEN Blacket was in a coma 14 months ago.
The 20-year-old had a heart attack, his lungs collapsed and his organs shut down.
Doctors did not expect he would ever walk or talk properly again.
Today, the former Narre Warren resident’s first photographic exhibition is on display at Burrinja Gallery.
Interpretation documents his road to recovery.
Ben was diagnosed with depression when he was 16. He saw psychologists and psychiatrists for medication to help him control the disease.
“I eventually became addicted,” he said.
The drugs affected his behaviour and saw him lose mates and his girlfriend of two years.
In June last year he overdosed.
“I woke up in hospital not knowing what I’d done to myself,” he said.
A month later he went home with a renewed sense of purpose.
“I thought I’d make something of myself,” he said.
“This is what I’ve always wanted to do and what I’ll always do. This will be my life.”
The 17-shot exhibition took Ben a year to create.
The hallucinations he experienced during his week-long coma inspired many of the images.
Ben holds down four jobs to pay the bills, as he pursues his passion.
He has no formal training, but found he had an eye for photography at high school.
He explored different techniques to develop his own style with the help of his uncle, artist Neil McLeod.
“I owe a lot of people a lot of things. This is just the start to show my appreciation,” he said.
Interpretation is on at Burrinja Cultural Centre, 351 Glenfern Road, Upwey until 20 September. – Casey Neill