Saturday, September 25, 2010

Photography as Art Therapy

Lincoln HDR
I have not been posting at my normal or desired pace over the last month due to a family medical emergency.  I certainly could have kept pace given the amount of idle time I had at my disposal waiting in doctor’s offices and hospital rooms, but it was a bit difficult to focus.  Rather, I spent this substantial waiting time informing friends and relatives of current events, and post processing photographs.
Memorial Bridge HDR
The silver lining to this dark cloud  came in three forms.  Most importantly my wife will be better off than before.  Second, I was finally able to close out processing of photos from 2009.  Yes, I am that far behind.  Processing photos so distant in time from the moment they were taken has an added benefit that I will talk about further in a future post.  Finally, I was given the gift of having a productive diversion (processing the photos) as I faced the treatment my wife was enduring.  Hence the subject of this post.
Jefferson Cloud Reflections
I know nothing of art therapy.  I have not researched the principals or application of art therapy.  However, I can tell you of my experience without bias of knowledge of the discipline.  During the extended periods of waiting, or sitting by my wife’s bedside while she was passing from consciousness to sleep, I played with my photographs.  I found it to be much more than simply a diversion.
Lincoln HDR BW
As I selected, discarded, and processed the photos I was transformed to a better state of mind.  I was viewing beautiful images and others that had the potential to be special.  As I worked through these photographs, pleasant and soothing emotions emerged.  This was a real gift.
Shenandoah National Park-2-2
By nature I am an introspective person.  I would not be surprised if this were the case for many of the people who pursue the art of photography.  Reflecting on the manner in which I processed the photos during this recent period proved interesting.  The photos featured in this post were all processed during this period of waiting and wondering.  As I look at them now, I see a darker mood.  I would guess there is a relationship between my experience and my choice in post processing.
Shenandoah National Park-9-2
Although I do not have the words to describe it, I found my photography to be much more than a diversion.  It was a creative release and it supported me by introducing and encouraging positive thoughts and beautiful images.
The fog in Shenandoah National Park
Thank you for enduring my completely unstructured and possibly irrelevant thoughts on the subject of art therapy.  I can tell you that photography added a wonderfully positive moment to a very stressful situation.
Have fun, and go make some great photography.

1 comment:

  1. Craig - First of all, I'm so glad your wife is doing better. We all were praying for her.

    Your post reminded me of an undergrad class I took back in the early 80s at a tie dyed college in Northern was an Art Therapy class. Initially, I took this elective course because it fell within my Psychology major. However, it became more than just an easy 3 credits and I had an unexpected deep personal result. Without going into detail, I can attest there is most definitely therapy in just have to let your body and mind step outside of its normal comfort zone and be open to the potential you never thought you had.

    Thanks for sharing such an introspective post buddy.