When people ask me why I love photography, they presume I will describe it as my livelihood. Even though it is one of my sources of income, I have never been tired of taking photos. So, one day I finally understood why I got into this hobby that turned to be my side job. With my first digital camera, I would only take casual shots of friends, family, and nature. This opened my eyes, and I learned more about image processing.
We can look at photography from two angles:
- Phototherapy: The use of images to help patients recover their memories or express their deeper feelings. Some people recall important incidences when they see photos of family members or places they have seen before.
- Therapeutic Photography: Self-initiated photoshoots where the photographer shoots for fun. No professional therapist is involved in this case. Just feeling the camera in my hands or hearing the shutter sound is therapeutic. Looking through the lens and searching for a beautiful spot to shoot is so breathtaking.
Sometimes I spend hours perusing magazines to look for inspiration. I let my eyes wander through the beauty of exotic places depicted in Instagram posts by renowned photographers. Such images linger in my mind long after I put down the magazines and switch off my phone. I am a big fan of nature documentaries, so I find myself many times re-visualizing the scenes and how they would look on a photo frame. I can’t help but imagine how exciting it can be to visit such places with a camera hanging around my neck.
Besides being a form of art, I take photography to be a means by which I can express my world and communicate it to the outer world. A simple photoshoot can explain my thoughts and feelings or tell a story. This is one of the reasons I started outdoor photography as a hobby. There are days when expressing my emotions is a bit challenging. But my camera has a way of making me get back on track after a tough day. I believe anyone in distress can engage in dialogue better through photography.
Whenever I visit a new place, my camera allows me to see images that depict how people live in that area. I, therefore, perceive the world objectively without judging from the ideologies I have heard before or conjured up in my head. This is how I learn to be sensitive to the environment and whatever is happening on the ground. Developing a mindful attitude is therapeutic in the sense that it reveals the reality we thought we understood.
How I wish we would all manifest genuine emotions. The world would be a better place if we could show our true psychological states. Through capturing images, I have gained a better understanding of myself. I somehow liberated myself from things I previously misunderstood. Through what I feel and see, I can ask questions to be enlightened about certain concepts I used to be confused about. This is a form of therapy, considering I have improved my understanding.
Some things used to be so ordinary to me. But looking at the photos, I now see things from different angles. A mere butterfly can turn into a piece of home décor once I capture it while flying. Natural items become meaningful when we print them on paper. It gives me a positive feeling to shoot living things.
The whole process of taking photos requires focus. From selecting an object to tweaking the light settings, it is all about observing and concentrating. Naturally, meditation brings me some form of serenity and peace. Just the way journalists gather various stories from one scene, I can capture a situation in a unique way and tell different narratives worth a million words. In essence, I can curate the world around me to reflect my thoughts, desires, and values. These are the things I want to see. And so I focus on what matters and leave out what doesn’t make sense.
One of my greatest pleasures is switching from day to day stresses to a state where I can unleash my inner child. This is the joy that photography grants. Playing around with backgrounds, changing subjects, locations, genres, and timing is a journey to happiness. I have found myself immersed in a creative pursuit that reduces anxiety. You, too, can elevate your mood through photography. Join me, and let’s do it today, not tomorrow.