Photography as therapy
Posted on 4th March 2021 at 17:29
How photography challenges and inspires me
This past year has been challenging for everyone, and as we come to the first anniversary of the first Lockdown, I am reflecting on my biggest challenges as a professional photographer, and what inspires me.
1. What was the first challenge when Covid loomed large in our lives?
I have to admit that when Lockdown first hit, like most people I was sent into a spin. My primary concern wasn't about my business as a professional photographer, but about the safety of my family and how we would do simple things like put food on the table.
My eldest has autoimmune issues so we were extra cautious as, like everyone, we had little idea about the impact of contracting the virus. Quite frankly we were scared.
Despite this slightly 'rabbit in headlights' feeling, I immediately knew I would want to document life in these times so I started 'a photo a day' from Day one of Lockdown.
My first photo was of what I was grateful for. A good supply of wine and some uplifting daffodils!
2. Can a professional photographer pivot in a Pandemic?
I am eternally grateful to my close girlfriends who rallied round. They shared their supermarket delivery slots when I couldn't get any or bought extra for me at the shops which I had decided not to venture to, in order to protect my son.
It took a week or so to establish the basics. Then there was the dawning realisation that, as a professional photographer, I was going to have to do something differently if I wanted to get through this time with a business in tact and a sane mind.
I have always done a bit of teaching, and as a Fellow at the British Institute of Professional Photographers, I have the privillege of judging national and regional print awards and assessing qualifications. So, I decided to launch on line photography lessons, at an affordable price.
3. Seeing beauty in the everyday and inspiring people.
I see beauty in everything, noticing the small details that are often overlooked or ignored. My images are an expression of what I see, looking beyond what is in front of me to shoot spirit and soul.
I wanted to inspire people to go and and take better photos. So that the images they produce are close to what their intention had been when they press the shutter.
It didn't matter whether my students had a smartphone or a SLR camera, my aim was to inspire them to slow down, look harder and see the beauty in the everyday.
My on line photography classes focused on getting the basics of photography ingrained, knowing the 'rules' in order to be able to consciously break them! But the key is looking and experimenting.
4. Photography as an art therapy.
As a visual creative, I found that my 'lockdown photo a day' project really stretched me. It challenged me to consciously express my feelings through photographs.
Some days I found I was inspired to take a number of different images, others I had to really make myself focus in order to take just one that said something about that day.
I did it for over 100 days, and have a collection that is really interesting to look back on. I can see that it really did help my state of mind, and inspire me to be creative when I might otherwise have slipped into lethargy. I also consciously took up sketching and painting, diarising a weekly session with two wonderful women who inspire me hugely.
Some of the participants on my courses took part simply because it was something to do, rather than because they had a burning desire to learn photography. What I find most amazing is that so many have said that it is the one thing that got them through that first Lockdown, and they continue to enjoy taking photos to this day.
This image is courtesy of Helen Pilmer who was on one of my smartphone photography courses
5. Helping businesses with their social media photos
As well as helping individuals to take better photos, I devised a course to help businesses. In normal times, part of my role as a professional photographer is to undertake personal branding photography and corporate photography, including creating interesting images for a client's social media campaign.
With time on their hands and a desire to keep a profile up, many businesses were looking for support like this, but obviously I couldn't take the photos for them. However, I could educate them in the thought process behind creating a series of successful social media photographs, and teach them to take better photos themselves whilst they have the time.
This photo is courtesy of Siobhan Elliot who was on one of my photography for business social media courses.
Inspired by International Women's Day 2021
This post is written to acknowledge International Women's Day and the role of women in the world. The theme is #choosetochallenge. Co-ordinated by Attract Readers, I am grateful for their inspiration and support.
If you would like to find out more about how I work with businesses to create inspiring images, do give me a call on 07793 205155 or contact me
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