Are you especially curious and imaginative? Or, more pragmatic and focused? But want to be more of the former? Then you might be a good candidate for photography therapy. The prescription is simple: Treat yourself to seeing the world around you as a series of photographic opportunities.
Why? Because once you become more visually aware of your surroundings — Would this make a good photograph? — you’ll be surprised how quickly your curiosity is piqued and your imagination is revealed. All the sudden, there’s heightened awareness, you start to notice things once lost to the haste of everyday modern life – symmetry in nature, angles in architecture, intrinsic diversity in human faces and stories behind expressions. Images will be exposed within once routine commutes and walks and social interactions.
The renowned French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson possessed a talent for seeing interesting actions and angles in everyday life. He became famous for capturing these instances or “decisive moments” to create perfect images. “To me, photography is a simultaneous recognition, in a fraction of a second, of the significance of an event,” Cartier-Bresson explained, “as well as of the precise organization of forms which give that event its proper expression.”
The habit of seeing days and hours as collections of interesting moments keeps your mind active and alert. With camera in hand, you improve your reflexes and manual dexterity as well.
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When something catches your interest, photograph a series of themed images — expressive faces, old bridges, artistic graffiti, perfect flowers, classic neon signs — and make prints to display as a wall collage. At the very least, consider your daily photos as contestants vying for a position as your computer screensaver or phone wallpaper. Of course, share select photos on social media (more than selfies and snaps, that is) to give friends a creative glimpse of your day.
Mostly, though, keep challenging yourself to improve your perspective. That’s the great thing about photography, like musicality, practice makes perfect (even if perfection is in the eye of the beholder.)