Photography as Therapy

Rediscover. Explore. Connect

Have you ever driven or walked from one place to another on autopilot, with little to no recollection of the journey?

When familiar territory becomes so familiar that you could navigate with your eyes closed, it’s probably time for a change of scenery.  But the truth is, you don’t need to get away in order to be in a more interesting space.

‘We do not see the world as it is, we see it as we are” anon

Next time you’re off to work, or school, or running errands, lift your head up, take those earphones out, walk a little slower, look a little closer.  Imagine how the place might appear to a tourist, or a visiting alien!

What do you see?

I use my camera like a butterfly net, to collect fleeting moments that grab my attention.  Don’t worry about fancy gear, resolution, composition or producing award-winning images. The camera on your phone is perfect. Just take a moment to stop, look, point, shoot, think, feel, repeat. 

Notice how what you’re looking at affects you. Do the images trigger any particular memories, thoughts, emotions, physical sensations? And does your mood affect the way you see?

“We cannot direct the wind, but we can adjust our sails”

Once I  become aware of how my environment affected me, I became better able to manage my reactions to it.  Actively focusing on the aspects I enjoy most doesn’t make “all the bad stuff” disappear, but does draw my attention away from it. Conversely, when I focus on the negatives I soon lose sight of the positives. It’s a constant balancing act, being mindful of what’s going on both inside and out, and making conscious decisions and adjustments. It felt clunky at first, somewhat insincere and unnatural, but eventually became a hard wired habit.  “Fake it until you make it”

We may not be able to change the world, but we can certainly alter our experience of it.

Think in terms of social media:  the more we “Like” certain types of posts, the more similar ones appear in our news feed. Eventually, the themes we like will crowd out the posts we actively disliked or simply ignored. We can shape our user experience of The Real World in much the same way as we do our online environment.

Taking pictures is a great way to feel more in tune with your environment. It can also be a fun and meaningful way to share your experiences and connect with like others.

Going on photography walks, either by yourself, with a friend or as part of a group can be very therapeutic.  Working with an Art Therapist can help you to safely process your observations and explore a little deeper.

“A man cannot not step into the same river twice, for it is not the same river and he is not the same man’ Herakleitos c. 535–475 BC