Sitting in a Nashville hotel room, a little over 4 years ago, an idea popped into my head: What if I asked musicians I had completed portraits with, if they would be willing to share a story about how mental health had played a role in their life? I had been fortunate enough to spend a lot of time with some of my favorite singers and songwriters and it seemed every one of them had a story relating back to some type of struggle. My goal would be to normalize the conversation around mental health and present one of my portraits, along with their story as a series. I was excited about the idea and it seemed like others were too. It went nowhere.
I kept taking portraits and I kept having those conversations. Things became a little more immediate for me a few years ago. The truth is, I also had a story and I hadn’t been very forthcoming about it with a lot of the people outside of my immediate circle. My father had a series of back surgeries back in the mid-to-late 1980’s, which led to an opioid addiction that he was never able to kick. During the last several years of his life, the parent/child relationship flip-flopped and I spent years visiting emergency rooms, jail and taking him to rehab. The addiction, along with numerous other health issues ultimately led to his death in January of 2016.
4 years later after coming up with the initial idea and I couldn’t be more grateful to No Depression for their willingness to include this series in their wellness issue.
Once I started asking people I had worked with, almost all of them said yes. They wanted their stories heard.
Thank you for trusting me.
Thank you for sharing.
-Chad Cochran 2019
Chad Cochran was born and raised in the small town of Fredericktown, Ohio, with a population of only 2,487.
Chad began his career as a landscape photographer and was always drawn to capturing the beauty in the decay of old barns, homes, and vintage signs. As his passion grew, he utilized his love of music photography to expand into portraits. Over time, he has become well-established in the "Americana" music scene, frequently traveling to Nashville to shoot portraits and capture live performances.
Throughout his career, his work has been featured in numerous publications, including Rolling Stone, Billboard, Guitar Player Magazine, Spin, No Depression, and American Songwriter. Additionally, a portion of his concert photography is archived in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Chad has also been a featured mental health speaker at the Woody Guthrie Folk Festival, talking about this series.
One of his proudest accomplishments was having his photo of Elizabeth Cook displayed in Times Square, New York City. Most recently, Chad's "I Didn't Want to Tell You" series was featured in the 2019 Fall Wellness issue of No Depression, where he advocated for normalizing conversations around mental health.
Currently, Cochran resides in Cleveland, Ohio, where he continues photography and being a mental health advocate.