Do you find photography therapeutic?

Discussion in 'Ethics and Philosophy' started by Mainecoonmaniac, Sep 3, 2012.

  1. Mainecoonmaniac

    Mainecoonmaniac Subscriber

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    I have a busy life and it seems that I have very little time to do photography anymore. I remember every time I come back from a trip shooting, I feel relaxed and have a sense of purpose. During times when I can't leave for a trip, I try to have some darkroom time. I made a couple of prints in the darkroom this holiday weekend and it was a totally therapeutic. I find it more therapeutic than shooting digitally. The reason for me is that the anticipating the potential of the latent images is the fun part. The other fun part is going into the darkroom to coax beauty from a negative on to a wet print. The final reward is holding a dry print in my hand. I'm lucky to have a girl friend that encourage me to play with my cameras and playing in the darkroom.
     
  2. Richard S. (rich815)

    Richard S. (rich815) Subscriber

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    100% yes.
     
  3. Vaughn

    Vaughn Subscriber

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    Better than drugs.

    Spent the day hiking up Redwood Creek (Redwood Nat. Park) with my boys today -- photographing with the Rolleiflex. Very fun and relaxing. Now I have 4 rolls of film in front of me -- hopefully I'll get to them this week.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2012
  4. F/1.4

    F/1.4 Member

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    Honestly I usually find it frustrating, rarely fulfilling, and exhausting.

    I'm not as good, thoughtful, or experienced as I want to be, and I feel selfish and nepotistic whenever I share pictures.



    ..Yet at the same time, I can't imagine what it would be like being into something else like cars or guns, or whatever it is other people are really into.
     
  5. BMbikerider

    BMbikerider Member

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    Actually getting out and about taking the photographs is one thing so long as I can find a place away from the crowds. But what I do find theraputic is being in the darkroom. There I can settle down to a slower pace of life and whilst I am a bit erratic and rush things elsewhere, once in the darkroom, life slows down and I can relax.
     
  6. Ken Nadvornick

    Ken Nadvornick Subscriber

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    Terribly theraputic. It's the main reason I practice it.

    I'm not an artist. Nor do I play one on TV. I do this because it's like slamming on the brakes after going 1,000 miles-per-hour every day at work. I do it because it lets me concentrate on only one thing at a time. Not on ten things at a time, each of which is the top priority. And all of which must be done by tomorrow, or the world will no doubt come to an end. It's a sanity check.

    My favorite type of photography is large format 8x10. And my favorite time is the part where I walk around with no camera at all just looking at things. I like quietly walking around looking at things. And I like walking around alone so I don't have to constantly justify and explain what I am looking at, or why.

    If I see something sufficiently interesting to me, I'll return with the camera. Then it's off to a very quiet darkroom. I like the smell of an acid fixer. I mix up Kodak F5 for film, even though the hardening is no longer really required. But for me the smell is required. That's reason enough.

    I have a Versalab print washer. It quietly gurgles. I love that sound. It calms me down. So does the distinctive clicking of the Intellifaucet valves in the background. So does the clinking of stainless film steel hangers in stainless steel tanks. And the deep red LED safelight. I have a Duplex, but the deep red is old school. And I like that. I also wear an apron. An "Oriental Papers" apron. Photoshop doesn't require an apron. Or a towel to dry your hands. I really, really like that.

    The main reason I have never purchased or even once used a digital camera is that there are no software plug-ins for any of the above analog experiences. Mercifully, there are no apps for that...

    Ken
     
  7. Slixtiesix

    Slixtiesix Subscriber

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    Absolutely. Stepping out into nature with my Rollei and tripod and shooting some chromes always leaves me relaxed.
     
  8. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    Totally!

    After a busy day at work I do very often go to a nearby park/viewpoint which is a popular place for people to hang out. Shoot a roll or two during 2-3 hours (we have no kids), street style, then I go home with a clear head filled with peace to prepare some food and eat and spend the rest of the evening with my lil lady (when she's in the mood for it she joins me, and sometimes shoots too...).
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 4, 2012
  9. mhanc

    mhanc Member

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    Absolutely! Shooting, developing and printing require my total focus... the rest of the world might as well not exist. It frees the mind of all its clutter.
     
  10. matti

    matti Member

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    Therapeutic is a difficult word. I don't find it relaxing. Actually quite frustrating at times, since my makeshift darkroom at the moment is a mess. The studio is a mess. A random half of my photo gear is still packed away since moving houses this summer. But this weekend, when I framed a beautiful lith print I developed some years ago, I just wanted more of them. The forager part of my brain tells the rest of me to go get some more. That is what keeps me going.

    /matti
     
  11. Ghostman

    Ghostman Subscriber

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    I find it hugely therapeutic. Everyone has already commented on the therapeutic action of spending time out and alone, looking at things, taking notes. Shooting off a few rolls and the anticipation of developing them. The smell of the chemicals, the red light, the peace and deliberate quiet, the intent and focus. When you're doing that you're not doing anything else and all the crap just falls away. And then at the end of it all you have something tangible in your hands, an actual physical manifestation of your creative ideas; purgative, cleansing, exorcism. This is what is so unsatisfying about digital photography, at the end there is nothing physical made by your own hands.

    I'm going to go ahead and call it a good escape.
     
  12. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    A big +1 on all of that (even if I print "digitally" due to lack of time and space)...
     
  13. C.poulton

    C.poulton Member

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    Totally agree with that!
     
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  15. baachitraka

    baachitraka Subscriber

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    Yes, if you consider printing in darkroom.
     
  16. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Absolutely. All of my hobbies are therapeutic, why else would I persue them?:smile::smile:
     
  17. markbarendt

    markbarendt Subscriber

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    Yes
     
  18. dpurdy

    dpurdy Member

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    As it is pretty much all I have ever done I find getting away from photography therapeutic. I took a part time twice a week job this Summer working in a Farmer's market
    and standing there at a stall talking to hundreds of people in a day trying to sell them a product I previously had no association with has been quite a personal learning
    experience.

    dennis
     
  19. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    I call it my 'insanity asylum'... It is meditative to focus 100% on trying to make one single thing perfect.
     
  20. blansky

    blansky Subscriber

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    I do it professionally and find it therapeutic.

    I love everything about it. The artistry, the collaboration with the subject, the use of mechanical/digital instruments, the beauty of lighting, the work in photoshop, and it's like Christmas morning when I first see the results and what is possible with the images.

    It's more than therapy, it's a fully satisfying and enriched life.
     
  21. michael_r

    michael_r Subscriber

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    The darkroom/printing work, yes. The camera work is the opposite.
     
  22. E. von Hoegh

    E. von Hoegh Member

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    Actually, my hobbies are the key to the door which leads outside the asylum.:smile:
     
  23. Jeff Kubach

    Jeff Kubach Member

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    I find it very relaxing.

    Jeff
     
  24. Felinik

    Felinik Member

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    I like this, and completely understand where you're coming from ...

    It's a meditative engagement feeding and occupying all sorts of neuroses and OCD's, and is probably as good as any kind of psycho-pharmaca....

    :D
     
  25. Thomas Bertilsson

    Thomas Bertilsson Subscriber

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    Exactly... :smile: For me it's just a way to shut out the insanity of every day life, exhale, and find a place where I'm bothered by nothing. There is only the picture, and trying to do it justice. That, to me, is soul satisfying.
     
  26. benjiboy

    benjiboy Subscriber

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    My photography gets me out of the house :smile:.