Sincerity of emotion in a photograph, as with any work of art, is often the most beautiful thing about it, whether we are directly aware of its effect on us or not. With portrait photography, or photos of people in general, this is especially prevalent. It’s hard to deny the emotions and expressions of faces looking out at us, beseeching an interaction of the heart.
Landscape photography and events photography can have an effect too. Atmospheres of places and events resonate when captured by a photographer or artist who has taken the time to connect before clicking the shutter. When we are in tune with a place or people, we can capture what we’re experiencing more fully. Sometimes we do this without thinking, but a conscious effort can help us bring this into every photo. And the impact of these special photographs on us and on others can be as far-reaching as the ripples of a pebble in a still pool.
Telecommunications company, Orange, carried out a study of the effects of photographs on people for an online album they were creating as part of a marketing campaign. The study, carried out by Peter Naish, a doctor of psychology at the Open University, found that viewing these photographs, consistently lifted people’s mood by 11% – this was compared to the 1% increase in mood by groups who attempted to eat, listen, watch, drink or eat their way to feeling better. It affected relaxation too.
“Photo albums were proven to be a far more effective way of unwinding, with subjects recording an average relaxation score of 22%. Wine and chocolate led to scores of 14% and 8% respectively.”
Recently I read, though for the life of me I can’t find where, that when a person feels low, it can be incredibly difficult to recall positive memories. So the last time I was not in the best form, I tested it out. I sat in a comfortable place on my own and tried to remember some happy memories. Though acutely aware that my life is filled with more happiness than difficulty, it was an ardent struggle. I couldn’t do it! So happening upon this study regarding the effect photographs have on us was like finding a little gem. The next time I’m attempting to ‘remember’ my way out of a bad mood, I’m going to dig out some old photos of places and people I love and let them work their magic.
Have a wonderful weekend and create some beautiful memories or dig out those old photo albums from the drawer.