Photography as therapy

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Our A & C editor is a man of many talents. Ethan Butterfield

Images for the soul

Photography has been a new form of therapy that I never knew I needed: the ability to go out and just take a photo, to freeze a moment in time so that exists in one singular space is something that goes beyond writing a short story, or taking in a film. There’s just something so surreal about it. Photography as an art form holds so many unique perspectives, but as a type of mental health care treatment, it does so much to calm the storm that is typically going off in my brain at any given time.

Before getting into my recent love/discovery of the therapeutic aspects of photography, let me just preface it by saying that 2020 hasn’t been the year I thought it would be. It’s been filled with ups and downs and, for the most part, feels like it’s just getting back at me for not having as miserable a year as I could’ve in 2019. As I’ve mentioned before in previous articles, life can get really hard sometimes. There are things this year (a year only two months in, by the by) that I wish I could do over, but we press on. Don’t let your demons win. As soon as they take over, they take over.

And what have I done to combat these demons? The wonderful art of photography. Recently, as I’m sure all of my friends have noticed, I’ve started to share more and more of my photos up on the Facebooks. This isn’t some sort of “look at me” move by any stretch. No, this is me being able to control aspects of my life that have gotten out of control. As I mentioned before, the ability to freeze a moment in time is something that goes beyond other forms of art, as it allows you to show your own unique perspective on any number of subjects. And that perspective is yours, and yours alone. No one can take that away from you.

I love the way that you can make lights dance, shadows play, and make everything seem so much more impactful than at the initial glance. It’s a beautiful type of therapy in that regard as it allows you to be creative, with the only limit being what you wish to shoot. It’s also less expensive then most therapies as all you need is a camera, that’s it. “But I can’t afford a camera,” you might say. Have no fear: your phone is here! Your photos don’t have to be professional grade; the mere experience of taking a photo can help with where your mind is at.

In short, photography has been working wonders for my mental health and creativity. I hope that anyone out there that wishes to try it finds the same type of success. Again, whether it be through a actual therapy or different creative means, please take of yourself. You’re important and your mental health is important. Talking about it is just the first step though, it’s the actions that truly make for change. My editor would like to remind you that we accept paid photo submissions for our graphics page. So, if you need a little extra motivation, there it is!

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