Pop Pills is an ambitiously designed book that explores the issues of an adolescent medicalized generation in the United States.
While lecturing at a workshop in 2008, French photographer Baptiste Lignel in 2008 was surprised to find that almost half of his class were on prescribed psychiatric medication. Upon carrying out statistic research, his findings prompted him to begin a seven-year project in which he followed nine children and teens who were being treated for various mental illnesses, anxiety disorders, depression, obsessive compulsive disorders and attention deficit hyperactivity disorders (ADHD). Every few years he met with participants and documented their mental health, their healing process and their views on both. The photographer had equipped the first-person accounts by children who are transformed into young adults with portraits in different life stages, depicting his subjects with their daily dose of tablets in their hands, and then capturing them in a natural and relaxed environment in which they seem almost “normal”. The author has combined the researched material with pop culture and everyday images (e.g. promo products of pharmaceutical companies, designer t-shirts with tablets bottles printed on them), which outline how widespread the phenomenon is in the modern world, and finished with a study on the abuse of drugs for recreational and academic purposes. In an extremely informative and at the same time visually very attractive way, this work raises the issue of medicalization pro et contra, promoting research, discussion and criticism.