How Photography Became My Therapy
Taking more photos is like therapy for your life.
Looking back on last year I changed one main thing: I started taking more photos. It did a lot more for me than just save my memories – reflecting on the year, I think taking more time to look at and capture the world around me was exactly the therapy my life needed.
It can work as a motivator.
When you start to love photography, certain places seem appealing just because you want to photograph them. I see every missed sunset as a lost opportunity because of how amazingly it might show up on camera. Taking more photos has been a motivating reason for some of the new places I’ve visited, the sunsets I’ve stopped to watch on my way home, the rocks I’ve climbed for a better view, or the sunrises I’ve made myself wake up early for. As awesome as it is if you’re the kind of person who just does this anyway, I really wasn’t at the start of this year and needed that little extra incentive to make the effort. I surprised myself with how quickly it’s it became a habit to take advantage of every little bit of spare time and how much more spontaneous stopping to take the picture has made me.
The things I’m most passionate about became clearer.
I had a lot of different things going on in my life this past year and my priorities often shifted. I’ve heard it said that if you want to know what you really care about, look at what you photograph most – this is what you’re most scared of forgetting. This really rings true for me looking back on my photos. There are endless pictures of the people I love in moments of happiness and excitement, pictures of adventures I’ve been on and new places I’ve explored. It’s clarified exactly what it is about exploring the world that excites me, and how much I appreciate those I go adventuring with, which might sound like a no brainer but actually makes it easier for me to channel these passions.
Contrary to popular opinion, photography helps me live in the moment.
I realize this believe is debatable for many. I’ve heard a lot of people say that if you’re taking photos of something, you’re not really experiencing it. I can see that as being true if you spend the majority of the time somewhere just taking photos, but I’ve found that taking a step back from a situation to photograph it actually helps me appreciate it. I take a moment to enjoy the atmosphere, to capture it; whether its friends laughing together or the stillness of a mountain mist. I notice more detail; more angles and more angles and beautiful lighting with more attention than I used to. There is a time and place for everything of course, but for me, taking a little time to capture a moment with my camera helps me to live every part of it.
When I’m stressed, it’s a way to keep things in perspective.
Everyone has those days where everything just seems overwhelming and you feel like you’re drowning in your to-do list. Snapping the people I’m around is an easy way to remind myself of how much I enjoy their company and how, no matter what else is going on in my life, I’m lucky in in so many ways. Stopping to take photos of the world around me is another way that I de-stress. Nothing like taking five minutes out of my day to photograph the sunset and remind myself that the world is still turning and still beautiful and still so, so much bigger than me and my little problems.
All of these things are little transformations. My life isn’t completely changed thanks to my interest in photography this year, but I have appreciated life a lot more because of it. Taking more photos was exactly the easy therapy I needed and I have no doubt I’ll keep turning to it in 2017.