Proud To Be Part of Lynda Cutrell’s 99 Faces Anti-Stigma Exhibit

99 Faces photo by Louise Michaud

99 Faces photo by Louise Michaud

Lynda Michaud Cutrell, a long-time Boston mental health advocate, recently invited me to participate in a clever anti-stigma project that she is creating called 99 Faces.

Lynda is developing a museum quality display that shows portraits of 99 individuals.  33 of those pictured have been diagnosed on the schizophrenia spectrum, 33 on the bipolar spectrum, and 33 are persons who love them.  However, everyone is mixed up together in the exhibit.

“No one is labeled,” Lynda explained, “and this reinforces that symptoms are not the person.  These portraits honor all faces, regardless of the presence of a mental illness.”

Goals of the 99 Faces exhibit include showing:

Diversity of the US population. 99 Faces, includes ages that range from 3 years old to individuals in their 90th year as well as individuals from every walk of life: Vets, Phds, Artists, Lawyers, MBAs, CEOs, authors, brothers, sisters, mothers, fathers, friends, etc. 

Our Common Humanity: 99 Faces reveals the beauty, individuality and happiness within all individuals…. regardless of their experiences with BP-SZ-Normal symptoms.  The photography captures personality and spirit, images which reach from the individual to create a connection with the viewer.


On the 99 Faces website, Lynda quotes Dr. Stephen R. Marder, MD, Semel Institute for Neuroscience at UCLA.

We know to a large extent that recovery from mental illness is often limited by people’s perception.  The connections with family and community is perhaps the most healing force in recovery.  We, in the psychiatric community, strongly believe that family involvement and connections in recovery is essential.  Recently we did a study of individuals that experienced significant recovery, not one person referenced their psychiatrist, but all acknowledged their love, acceptance and support of their close relationships.”

In addition to the honor of being included in Lynda’s exhibit, I got another perk. She took me to a professional make-up artist before my photo session with one of Boston’s most talented portrait photographers, Louise Michaud, who operates Pictures From The Sky studio.  Ah, Hollywood treatment!

Lynda is a long-time, tireless mental health advocate and a fabulous example of the individuals who I often praise in this blog — persons who are using their unique talents to educate others about mental illnesses. (Did I mention that she is doing this project completely on her own with no outside financing?) When she finishes, Lynda will approach several museums, beginning in the Boston area, about showing 99 Faces..

I obtained permission from Louise Michaud to begin using my portrait as my new author photo. I can now mention Lynda’s 99 Faces project on my book jackets and when I schedule speeches.

Thanks Lynda for creating 99 Faces and using photographs to show that persons with mental disorders are not THEM, they are US.

Photo by Louise Michaud, who is shown with camera in hand. Lynda is wearing cream colored blouse.

Photo by Louise Michaud, who is shown with camera in hand. Lynda is the wearing cream colored blouse.

To see more portraits visit 99 Faces. 

About the author:

Pete Earley is the bestselling author of such books as The Hot House and Crazy. When he is not spending time with his family, he tours the globe advocating for mental health reform.

Learn more about Pete.