I wrote the following piece for The One Project – an online mental health community exploring the use of photography as a form of self-discovery and therapy. The feature photo for this post is one I submitted with the article
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All are very important aspects to consider when putting a frame around what you see. All play a critical role in what you want to include (or exclude) in order to create the image you see in your mind. But what if I’m not talking about photography? What if I’m talking about therapy?
Contrast: Observing the differences between the light and dark. What are the stark differences? Why are there differences? Why are those specific things different? Am I asking about your photo – or about your life?
Shadows: Places where something blocks the light, making it hard to see details. What’s causing the shadow? Is it intentional? Does the shadow have meaning – or maybe there’s a meaning behind the cause of the shadow? Am I asking about the tree silhouetted by the sunrise or the hurt that you can’t seem to let go of?
Highlights: The brightest parts! But if you’re not careful the highlights can overwhelm the rest, blinding you to everything else, and ruining the potential for something amazing. Maybe the highlights are from the sun reflecting off the water. Maybe they’re the bright spots in the past that you replay to avoid the present.
Perspective: It doesn’t have to take a lot of effort to shift your perspective. I think it could be argued that apart from light, perspective is the most important aspect to both life and photography. Sometimes you just need to stand tall and take a look around. Sometimes you need to get down low and get your hands dirty. Depending on your path, your life and your surroundings, one might be easier than the other. But both can be very rewarding – both for your photos and your personal growth. I only have to reference my life and the photos I chose.
The photos are from the same location. Moments apart. Virtually the same edits applied to both. The difference is simply vertical distance. In one, I literally stuck my phone in a puddle. From there, I simply stood up and raised it to eye level. Maybe it’s not the most glamorous subject matter (referring to the photos). Therapy probably doesn’t rank that high either. But that’s not the point.