Photography is a tool for meditation, mindfulness and creative living.
Creative work as therapy is not new. Art therapy – using painting, drawing and other kinds of art-making – has been around for decades, with rigorous training programs and applications in many different settings.
Therapeutic photography isn’t confined to active camera work. Weiser uses a technique called “photo projection” which invites clients to view photographs from many sources and respond to them, speculating about the story behind the picture and observing their own reactions to what they see in it. In this way, she says, photographs can expose the client’s own memories and feelings, and stimulate reflection and understanding.
What makes a photograph such a potent tool for healing? A photograph is a moment frozen in time, taken out of its larger context. It contains multiple layers of meaning. What we see in the frame conveys, on one level, pure information: this is a picture of a bridge; here is a photograph of the waves rolling to the beach. Beyond that, though, elements of composition, color (or the tones of black and white), and the connotations of objects carry a wealth of associations, metaphorical meanings and emotional coloring. Photographs both capture and create realities.
In viewing a photograph, as in other kinds of art, we co-create the image with the one who makes it. And certainly, in making a photograph, we co-create the image with the subject, falling into the moment of oneness.
Photography creates opportunities to step, briefly, into a place where different realities intersect; a place where new windows are opened, both on the world and on ourselves.