– How Photography Can Be Used for Life Therapy –
I live in a quiet town in the northern part of Belgium. It’s nothing special. Not too far away there’s a forest, but there aren’t any dramatic mountains that take your breath away, no stunning waterfalls and no picturesque lakes. None the less, it’s gorgeous here.
When I go for a walk, the wind plays through the trees beautifully; the light shines magically down forming an almost fairy-tale circle on the dew-wet grass; the birds soar overhead, before coming down to sing and chatter in the trees. When I sit on the bench where I usually rest for a few minutes, ants crawl over, around and through the fallen brown leaves, while bees go about their tireless work, buzzing from one flower to the next.
Despite the fact that I don’t live somewhere mind-blowing – like many parts of the world are, I feel however that I kind of do. But honestly, I feel that about any place where I go. And no, this was not always the case. Curiously enough it was because of photography that I became aware of this sense of beauty, and it was that that gave me the ability to notice the details and pay attention to them.
Why Photography can Be Used for Life Therapy
When you take photos, you are forced to stop, or at least slow down to take a look at life and the moment that you are trying to capture. The more seriously I got into photography the more time I spent doing this. The result was that by always seeking out the beauty in something, searching for the tiny details that would make the picture stand out, I was unconsciously training myself to see those moments, those details even without a camera in my hand.
Photography enhanced my sense of vision. It made me start to become aware of life’s beauty and its details. Before I knew it, I was unconsciously seeing it all the time – in everything and everywhere. This is usually something most of us have to force ourselves to pay attention to. I think the reason for that is because there is too much to see. It blinds us, we can’t take it all in so we skim over it, ignore it instead of focusing down on each particular part.
When you take a photo, however, you shut everything outside the shot out, and focus down on one specific detail, one particular moment in time. This teaches you to drill down and to look at the details of that moment, filtering out all the noise around you.
I would recommend to anyone who is depressed, unhappy, can’t find joy in life or whatever they are struggling with, to pick up a camera and go for a walk. With a camera in your hand, you automatically put yourself into a state of awareness of your whole surroundings – simply because you are looking for something beautiful or interesting to capture. I have lived a lot of my life thinking and feeling life was a dull and uninteresting place. When I got myself interested in photography, however, that changed and I began to get absorbed into the wonders of life.
It is not photography itself that made me happy though, but it is photography that taught me how to be happy. It’s a tool that can help to train you to filter out everything except for one certain moment, one particular detail. It allows you to notice and completely focus on something which otherwise would have passed by unseen. I honestly think that depression, unhappiness or the feeling of emptiness is more a lack of amazement about life than anything else.
If you feel like you want to dive deeper into photography, I have created an Ultimate Online Photography Course for Beginners. I wanted to teach everyone the basic skills of photography and hopefully help them to see life through a new, different pair of eyes. Have a look, who knows, maybe you’ll even find yourself liking photography more than you ever thought you would!
Question about this article: What do you think about using photography as life therapy? Have you tried using it so yourself?