Tranquility I

Tranquility I

ss 0.5 f 22 ISO 50

Nikon D800, Nikkor 24-70 58mm

My family and I spent a couple of weeks in Hawaii this summer.   Our trip was nothing short of amazing.  I have so many stories to tell through photographs, but so little time to blog.  I want to share so much with all of you, but with the start of school, sports and activities for the kids, and work, I just haven’t been able to dedicate the time needed to effectively write blog posts.

I am thrilled to be as busy as I am.  I have had a steady flow of head shot clients, family portraits, and events to photograph, which is all good and means business is growing.   The best part about all of it is that I am getting to meet some really spectacular people.

My children are busy running cross country, playing high school football, dancing and playing tennis.  I can’t begin to tell you how much I enjoy watching them run, dance, and play.  My heart bubbles with joy every time I see them working hard and having fun while doing it.   One would think that I have a lot to photographs to share with you of all of these fun activities, but, I have actually been taking the time watching them to relax and do just that, watch them.

Enough about why I haven’t been blogging and a bit about this shot.  If you haven’t already figured it out, the subject is the ocean.  I took a long exposure shot of water to create that flowing, cotton candy like effect.  I find it to be peaceful and tranquil, thus the title.  The location of the photograph is Kauai, Hawaii

To see a similar photograph but in black and white visit Monochromia for my Thursday post.  Which do you like better, the color edition, or the black and white edit?

Introducing “FHAPP” ~ Finding Hope and Peace in Photography

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~Therapeutic Photography~

~Photography as Therapy~

~Photography for Personal Growth and Mindfulness~ 

~Finding Hope and Peace through Photography (FHAPPTM applied for)

What is Therapeutic Photography

Therapeutic photography is a method in which photography is embraced as a tool for mindfulness, meditation, gaining insight, self-discovery, transformation and/or healing. The process of making photographs serves as therapy, with or without a mental health therapist involved. Therapeutic photography programs involve creating photographs and talking about them.

Therapeutic photography helps individuals explore photography as a vehicle for seeing and connecting with the world around them, and with themselves.

When individuals stop to photograph something, or someone, they stop to truly see it. Once a subject is truly seen, a more intimate, meaningful relationship to the subject can be attained.   Through the process of truly seeing a subject, creativity is unleashed and there can be an increase in appreciation of life, a better understanding of self, and an enhanced ability for self-expression.

No matter how photography is practiced, it creates opportunities to experience a place where different realities intersect; individuals become aware of new perspectives, both on the world, and themselves. Photography can help people explore life, learn, grown, heal and get more joy out of life. When making photographs, we co-create the image with the subject. Cartier-Bresson and others have described this as falling into a moment of oneness.

Achieving a sense of oneness with self and/or the world can help people enter a phase of mindfulness that helps them achieve a sense of joy and contentment.   When people are struggling to overcome life events such as significant loss, dealing with anxiety, depression, or other emotional or mental challenges mindfulness work can help to ease the pain and help people find their way back to peace and stability.

Photographs are specific moments frozen in time and contain multiple layers of meaning. We may see what is in the frame for exactly what it is, but composition, color, and tones of black and white offer a wealth of metaphorical meanings and associations.   Developing skills and passion for photography is one path on the destination to mindfulness.

The Practice of Therapeutic Photography

Individuals draw different benefits from therapeutic photography. It is not a one size fits all program. Therapeutic photography can be practiced individually and in groups. An integral part of therapeutic photography is sharing with others, for example, with group workshop participants, family, friends, or in a public exhibit. Sharing photography work with an audience offers an opportunity for individuals to take pride in, and ownership of, their work. Sharing work builds confidence, helps individuals feel validated, heard and respected.

Photography offers naturally therapeutic healing properties. The key to therapeutic photography is having a balance of photographic instruction, creating pictures, and reviewing and discussing photography work.

Photography as therapy emphasizes well-being versus illness or struggle. Photo Voice, a U.K. based organization, uses photography as a tool for change and empowerment for disadvantaged or marginalized communities. Photo Voice has observed central therapeutic benefits of therapeutic photography workshops to include; peer support, socializing and learning new skills.

It is important to note that therapeutic photography is not within a formal counseling process like Photo Therapy. Therapeutic photography programs are facilitated by photographic and community practitioners rather than mental health professionals.

Summary of Potential Benefits of Therapeutic Photography

For Individuals

  • Reduction in social exclusion
  • Increased self-knowledge
  • Increased self-awareness
  • Improved well-being
  • Improved relationships
  • Influencing positive change
  • Social healing
  • Reduction in conflict
  • Building self-confidence
  • Improving belief in self

“FHAPP”

At the end of the day, if I can believe I have helped someone feel, even a glimmer of hope, peace, and joy within themselves I will feel successful and happy. At Robyn Graham Photography, LLC we call our therapeutic photography program “FHAPP” ~ Finding Hope and Peace through Photography.   We support all individuals in the program by giving them a kind, gentle, positive environment to learn photography, to share their photography and work towards a sense of inner peace through their own creative intentions and feed back from peers in the program, and others. The studio space offers a beautiful, peaceful, inspiring environment for learning, creating and sharing.   The studio is also a space for exhibits, through which program participants will be able to share their work with their family and friends and with the general public.

Participation Details

To enroll in FHAPP, please visit the Robyn Graham Photography, LLC website. Programs will begin the fall of 2016. We will offer programs during the week initially, and will add sessions as demand rises.

The cost for individual/private participation is $600 for 8 1 to 1.5 hour sessions or pay as you go or $75/hour.

The cost of group participation is $360 for 8 1.5-hour sessions. Space is limited to 6 participants.

Groups programs are open for ages 12 years to adult.

Individual/private sessions are available for younger children, teens and adults.

For more information and to register, please visit FHAPP page on my website.

Credentials

Robyn’s original degree was a doctorate in pharmacy through which she studied mental health. In addition, she is well read in the are of anxiety which she has had first hand experience with one of her children who suffered from moderate to severe anxiety. In addition, Robyn was adjunct faculty at St. Louis College of Pharmacy, has taught CCD, and multiple teen and adult photography classes. Robyn has all clearances through the state of Pennsylvania to work with ,and teach children.

References:

  1. PhotoVoice:
  2. Therapeutic Photography: Judy Weiser
  3. The Preconscious Eye
  4. Institute of Mental Health
  5. Best Thinking Arts and Entertainment
  6. Through a Different Lens

 

Sunset Glow

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Sunset Glow

A Beetle and a Dragonfly

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To view an image of the dragonfly in black and white please visit Monochromia.

Bars of Light

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ss 1/80 f 4.5 ISO 500

About this photograph:  I am teaching a teen photography camp this week.  I have 15 students ranging from 11 to 15.   The camp sessions are from 9am to 3:30pm Monday through Friday.  During the morning hours, we simulate a classroom setting and I teach the students about photography.  Thus far we have reviewed manual settings and the technicalities of cameras, which none of the kids had previously been using, composition and light.  Today well talk about posing human subjects.   After the lessons, we venture outside to experiment with cameras and use the information learned.   After talking about light yesterday, we took a hike to a near by covered bridge.  In between answering questions and guiding the teens on how to use their cameras, reminding them of compositional “rules”, and pointing out light and it’s qualities, I took a few shots myself.  This photograph is taken of one of the walls of the bridge.  I noticed the light peaking through the slats, between the boards.  Instead of focusing, I intentionally decreased the focus so that I could create a bit of blur to capture the circles of light in each strip, which the shallow depth of field helped create.  As I was shooting, my intent was to convert the file to black and white.  I do think I like that edit better than the original, but the green and white strips of light are also appealing to me.

To see the photograph in black and white, please visit my Thursday post on Monochromia. Which do you prefer?

Independence Day ~

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“Those who won our independence… valued liberty as an end and as a means. They believed liberty to be the secret of happiness and courage to be the secret of liberty.”

~ Louis D. Brandeis

I took the liberty to play in Photoshop this morning and create a unique, vintage American Flag to post for Independence Day.  I cropped and rotated the flag and added a layer of texture using Adobe Paper Texture Pro.  Opacity was adjusted on the layer level.

For comparison, I included the original below.

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Have a happy and safe 4th of July!

“Bashful”

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Last week when I was coming home from a run I noticed that my beloved peonies had all but wilted and the petals been discarded. At the time, there were only a few remaining flowers. Spring has been so rushed and harried with work and activities for the kids that I had almost missed the joy of photographing the peonies.  That afternoon, instead of ironing and doing the banking, I cut the last of the living peonies and did some still life work. This was a time to be inspired, to create, take a deep breath and recharge my soul.

I didn’t have time to go to the studio, which means I didn’t have any back drops to use.  I knew that for some of the shots I wanted a white back drop.  I could have used a white table-cloth, or a sheet and hung them from a door, but, I didn’t feel like going to the trouble and I knew I could create the white back drop myself using light.

Using my Nikon D800 and my Nikkor 105mm 2.8 lens I set out to create.  I grabbed some props, antique prescription bottles, an antique miniature milk bottle, a white cheese cloth, a black stool, some ribbon, and some sheets of music.  I don’t know how long I moved around in front of my front door playing and creating.  I lost all sense of time and felt so relaxed.

To create the white back drop effect I used only natural light.  I metered my exposure on the flower so that it would be properly exposed and the backlight would be blown out.  To avoid flare, I angled my lens down just enough to allow some haze, but to eliminate flare.  I wanted this shot to be flawless and dreamy therefore colorful flare spots were not welcome.  My settings are below for your reference:

ss 1/100 f 5.0 ISO 400

I could have worked with the above scenario for hours.   But, alas, the kids needed to be picked up from school and driven to activities, and, honestly, my equipment is so heavy that after a considerable amount of time, my neck and arms begin to tire.  Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my equipment and the Nikon cameras and Nikkor lenses that I have give me great flexibility when working in the various areas of photography that I focus on.  I do love them, but I have recently been evaluating mirrorless cameras, especially for travel and street work.   Lighter weight cameras and lenses would be fabulous when having to hold or carry them for any length of time.   In addition, I just recently came across a new camera that I found interesting.  Light, is a compact camera that appears to have many features.  I don’t know that it has the flexibility I need, but I think it is worth checking into for travel and street work.  I thought I would share the link with you in the event you might have interest in a compact camera that appears to have a lot of great features.

To compare this photograph in black and white, please visit my Thursday post on Monochromia.

To view more of the photographs from this still life session, check back on the blog soon or follow me on Instagram.  I post to Instagram much more frequently there.