/ Sari Soininen / Photo story

Transcendent Country of the Mind

Transcendent Country of the Mind is a project exploring my encounters with alternative dimensions of reality and perceptions of otherworldly signs around us. It tells the story of a world that lives at the back of our minds.

In my early twenties, I experimented with LSD regularly and excessively, and eventually experienced an extended psychotic episode, which had serious consequences on my own life, but also profoundly changed the way I perceive the world and reality itself. During this time, I abandoned all my worldly possessions; I confronted the demons of Hell and was shown the wonders of Heaven; I travelled through time and space; I peeked behind the curtain of this dimension and – even today, having fully recovered – my understanding of reality has changed forever. These photographs represent this perspective and offer others similar glimpses to what I found behind the curtain.

Making this project years after the psychosis, turned out to be extremely valuable for my mental health. When I started this project, I only wanted to share my way of perceiving the world, as I felt like I had gained a new way of seeing due to the psychosis. However, as the project continued I understood it was more than that: it was a way for me to let go of this traumatic yet eye-opening experience. Now that the project is finished, I feel free: The incident does not define me as a person anymore.

Sari Soininen (1991) is a Finnish photographer who holds an MA in photography from UWE Bristol (2021), BA from Lahti Institute of Design (2014), and she carried out exchange studies in Edinburgh College of Art (2013).