It is a short walk to see the world as a cruel, dark, hopeless place. But where there is shadow, there must also be light—and few tools better capture that light than a camera.
I have often alluded to how photography has changed my life. Given the events of this past year, using your camera as a therapy tool might be more valuable now than ever before. Like writing, photography can be a magical tool to fight anxiety and depression, and enhance well-being.
The camera can show us the way out of dark tunnels, and help us see and appreciate the beauty in and about us. Focusing on the awe of our natural world or scenes of love and compassion among humans helps shift our perception of the world and ourselves.
As an insecure young person, the camera was my Superman’s cape and shield against shyness and unworthiness. Photographs were my words gathered in my life’s diary. It gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. It took me away from my own grief as I saw the grief of others, which encouraged my compassion. It helped me share my deep secrets with those who cared to look.
For most of my career, I have chosen to focus on and celebrate good things, helpers, and acts of love and compassion, dedicating myself to searching for and documenting things that are lovely and affirming, especially in the hard shadows of injustice, hatred and grief.
Photography can increase our creativity, connect us with others of like interest, fight loneliness and depression, build our self-confidence and self-esteem, and give us some control in a world where so many things are out of our control. Photography can give you and your subject a voice—a way to be seen and heard.
We choose what to photograph and share, how to frame the world. It is a wonderful tool for self-expression, and allows me to say things I am unable to say with words.
To this day, photography remains a loyal friend and trusted therapist to me. The camera beckons me to get out of bed, follow the light and discover the world. Capturing a still photograph that expresses not only what I see but how I feel about what I see is an ongoing challenge I never master. I am always trying to get better.
Photograph something beautiful, something you love or that brings you joy. Write about what you see and how it makes you feel. Keep a daily journal, writing about what you discover about the outside world and the inside you.
To share your work, email your best image with caption information and explain how it affects you to GPH@pur.coop. We may share the best submissions on our website or social media channels.