You may have noticed the different photographs that I have used on my website – they are all ones that I have taken in places ranging from my backyard to the beaches I have lived near to Hawaii and beyond. They are all meaningful or beautiful in ways that remind me of things like the wind, water, and mindfulness.
I love to take photographs and have been doing it since high school, when we had to develop the black and white film ourselves in Mrs. Collier’s darkroom. There are photos all over my house and my family and friends’ houses that I have taken over the years that are meaningful and important reminders of where I have been, the people and places that are important to me, and all of the diversity in the world.
I also love to travel and photos are the best way I know to remember those wonderful trips. This is from the last trip I took, in January 2020, before the world changed. The Panama Canal and Costa Rica were wonderful – I might want to retire there – and I am so, so thankful I got to go on this trip. It was a wonderful lesson in history, ecology, family, diversity, and photography.
Perspective in Photography
One thing that I think of a lot when taking pictures is perspective. It changes when you are behind a camera – not only with what you see when you look through a lens, but with what comes into focus and with how others see you.
I often tell clients that there is no such thing as black and white. If you have ever developed a black and white photograph (I know, very old school, but it was a great way to learn), you know that there is rarely any such thing as true black or white in an image. Look at any black and white photo – then compare it to the mat, or the edges, or what a piece of exposed photo paper looks like when there was nothing in the enlarger – the difference is so clear.
The same thing is true of truth – you know that quote “there are at least three sides to the truth” – there is not an all or nothing, it is all about perception and perspective. We see, hear, feel, process, and remember things differently, even when we have the same experience.
Photography captures that one split second in time and gives is the opportunity to see the same thing – but it is always amazing to me how differently we process it, even with all of the other variables taken away.
Perspective in Therapy
This comes up a lot when clients struggle with their body image – it is often one of the hardest facets of eating disorders to deal with and often takes the longest to process. Our self perception is changing constantly, and hopefully changing even more during the recovery process and in therapy than it would in the normal course of living your life.
A lot of the interventions I use with clients could be called ‘perspective shifting’ – using mindfulness to look around and see where you are in the moment without judging and then imagine others’ experiences – or another version of your experience.
Hopefully, I will be able to travel and take more photos of exotic places soon. But for now, I will just work on remembering and appreciating my perspective right now without judging it.
Here is an old article I found about perspective and mindfulness that brought up the Holstee Manifesto, which is a lifestyle company that focuses on things like mindfulness, reflection, and connection.
Email me if you are interested in scheduling virtual therapy!