Photography And Well-Being

By SnapSquad - January 20, 2019

It is an established fact in our modern society that pictures can have the most powerful impact on the mind and that this power is being used on us all, and constantly so, with advertising and propaganda. From acknowledging this tremendous impact on the minds, it is child-play to figure out that pictures can also be used as tools to motivate and inspire; that they can serve a therapeutic purpose.  

The thing with photography as therapy is that it concerns people on both sides of the camera: the photographer and the person who looks at the final picture. For both photography has proven to help, in particular with stress, with depression and anxiety, with Alzheimer and dementia.

The One Project, a photography community for people suffering from depression and anxiety defines Therapeutic Photography as involving “taking, analysing and using photos for the purpose of personal healing, growth, or understanding, whether done consciously or unconsciously. By actively constructing, exploring and reflecting on photographs by pairing it with creative writing, you are able to learn more about yourself and how you see the world.”                                                                                                                            
It seems that lots of people do believe in the therapeutic power of photography if only on Pinterest, you can find boards such as 562 Best Health & Wellbeing images in 2019 .

Photography as Self Therapy for Stress

  • Funny pictures
With laughter being the best medicine, funny pictures will most likely rank number one as stress busters. Imagine going home to look at some funny photos you have framed: people you love caught in a silly moment, your goofy pet or any humorous shot you may treasure. 

  • Photos of Nature 
Are you aware that just looking at photos of Nature could be enough to lower your work stress levels? Try reading the garden section of a home magazine!

Photography to Fight Depression and Anxiety

I was pleased to find out that one photographer has saved himself from depression thanks to his camera!

Bryce Evans calls himself living proof of how photography can save your life. Bryce is now on a mission to bring more awareness to the therapeutic power of photography. He too contributes to The One Project. Frankly, I am pretty sure that Bryce is only one of many who has found well-being in photography.

Here is what can happen to you when you take your camera outside:
  • Granting your mind a break, focusing on something external to yourself, perhaps by looking for Nature?
  • Looking at the world through your lens and see it differently: there is beauty in the world and you can frame this beauty as you wish.
  • While in the act of taking pictures, it is likely that you will come to interact with strangers and create some special bonds, even if they only last for a moment. This type of encounters can act like confidence and a morale boost for hours after you go back home. It makes you feel connected to the world!
According to Bryce Evans, “Photography can be a connection to your subconscious mind, helping you to discover powerful personal insights about the cause behind your depression. Often the answers we seek externally are found within us.”

Photography is not just about making good photos, it can also heal. When you go out there with your camera or with your smartphone, you get a chance at finding beauty around you, which you would never notice otherwise.

Photography with People with Alzheimer and Dementia

According to the Journal of Aging Research, there is abundant evidence that emotional events can be preserved in the memory of patients with Alzheimer and Dementia and of anyone with memory deficits. With this in mind, it seems quite a logical thing to do to rely on the use of photos to evoke memories and stir emotions but also connect and engage with loved ones

Photographer Laurence Aëgerter is part of a project to provide an image-based therapeutic tool to improve the well-being of patients with memory deficits through brain stimulation. She lends her art to work in collaboration with neurologists, gerontologists and psychologists. Her work has already won her an award on the Netherlands.


Journal of Aging research  J Aging Res. 2011; 2011: 409364. Published online 2011 Jul 21. doi: 10.4061/2011/409364

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