In keeping with the family connection to explore the notion of how photography inspires us, I asked my sister to recall a story relating to a cousin of ours.
“My brother asked me to collaborate on his photography post series Monster Under The Bed as in our family we have all witnessed first-hand the superpower of the photograph. Lee sees the world through different eyes and shares his unique view with us all through his captivating photography. I also see the world differently with the help of photographs, and I’ll explain the reasons why”.
Using Photography as a Tool for Emotional Therapy;
Most of us will look through our collection of family photographs from time to time, and remember fondly (or not so in some cases!) the event or occasion that took place when the photograph was captured – reminding us of when it was taken, who we were with, what we were doing, how that event impacted our lives etc. Such reminiscence using photographs is often used as a form of therapeutic treatment in the care of elderly dementia patients, giving them a real sense of belonging, importance and of peace, in a time of difficulty. But it doesn’t stop there – many of us will use photographs for the same purpose, remembering happy times and helping us to maintain or improve our emotional wellbeing, and in coping with life’s challenges.
To put this into context, I’ll share my cousin’s story. By the age of just 15 he had tragically lost both of his parents, my own Aunt and Uncle. His photographs of them became a treasured collection of his memories, captured ‘forever’ in print. However, some years later a devastating house fire destroyed most of these images, leaving him with only one single photograph of his mum and dad together. This photograph of course became extremely precious to him. He realised that any other photographs of his parents would be like gold dust to come by.
My mother knew she had a photograph of my cousin’s parents in an old album somewhere and wanted him to have it, but despite her hunting high and low and in all the nooks and crannies of every inch of her house, that wee photo completely eluded her grasp. She started to accept that perhaps she had lost this over the years of house moves and life moving on, but she never quite gave up on the idea of what that one single image could mean to my cousin. Very recently she uncovered an old box in her loft containing images from a lost era . One of which was the photograph of my cousin’s parents.
There was an extra sparkle clearly visible in this photograph – it didn’t only include his parents, but also showed that my Aunt was expecting company.
From the moment I called my cousin to let him know, to the excitement when I sent the email with the scanned photo attached, and to the day I received the text message from him telling me of the joy he felt to see that image– I became inherently aware of the superpower of the photograph – to bring happiness into someone’s world and sooth the delicate emotions from yesteryear. The earliest photograph of his existence so powerfully established in the simplest of their contemporary devices. Respect fairly due to ‘the snapshot’. As Kodak’s earliest ad’s stated “You press the button, we do the rest”, Do we disagree?