Have you ever looked back at your photos and wondered what state of mind you were in?
About five years ago, I posted a gallery on Pbase that I called "Inner Visions." No, this was not a Stevie Wonder album, though I love Stevie and I love that album.
In late 2010, I began going through some very high anxiety and depression. It came about quite suddenly and I've never experienced such a thing before. I would often wake up with feelings of impending doom and for anyone who has ever felt this, this is a very dark and helpless feeling. It took me by surprise and affected me physically as well as emotionally. Other than the usual stress at work, I could see no reason for it and I struggled to get out of it. It took a couple of years for me to feel "normal" or close to it again.
While looking at the photos I took during that period in life, I was amazed at how much the camera had taken from my mind. Just as painters create their visions with brushes and pencils, just as musicians express their feelings through words and music, photographers too can channel their state of mind into their photographs with the help of the Almighty Camera.
Of course, you say, because photography is also an art. But I'm not talking about creating a photo with your camera. I'm talking about channeling your moods, feelings, and mind through your camera and without you knowing it.
Below are some of the photos posted during that tumultuous period in life and a brief description of what was going on mentally at the time.
(above) "Goodbye" 2010. Canon EOS 5D Classic, Olympus 35-80mm f/2.8 Zuiko lens.
I shot the photo above around late October or early November of 2010. This was about one or two months into that sudden onset of anxiety and depression I was feeling. I really was not into photographing much either at the time, but wanted to test the Olympus Zuiko lens I had just gotten. Autumn was upon us and the days were getting dark. When I posted this photo, I titled it "Goodbye" and I wasn't sure why.
Even though I was depressed, I was nowhere close to having any thoughts of suicide. But less than two months after I posted this photo, I was shocked by the news that my Dad had been diagnosed with terminal cancer. My Dad was more than just my father, he was really my best friend in life. When I look back on this now, I think it was that "inner vision" that something bad was about to happen that resulted in this photo and the accompanying title.
(above) "Ghost Of 2007" 2007. Ricoh GR Digital 8.1mp.
I took this shot at the end of 2007, a year which started out rough with my Mom overseas with a broken leg and the hospitalization of my father with the diagnosis that he had COPD, a disease that would change his life (and out lives) forever, and I believe, the disease that eventually lead to his death from lung cancer in 2011. The only bright spot I had in 2007 was the birth of my first child, my daughter, and that totally changed my life.
(above) "Stormy Weather" 2008. Ricoh GR Digital 8.1mp.
I was helping my parents move out of their humble South Bronx abode. After nearly forty years, they finally moved out of this place! This was a rough area to grow up in, but it did make me a stronger person in the long run. At the time this photo was taken, I was quite stressed out by the move and with my parents health issues.
(above) "Dark Love" 2005. Nikon D1X, 50mm f/1.8 AF-D Nikkor.
I was having some "issues" with my marriage at the time and it resulted in this photo. When I took the shot, I was experimenting with some homemade "studio" lights and had no idea it would end up as "Dark Love" :-)
(above) "Receptor" 2010. Yashica EZ F521 toy camera.
I shot the above photo in early 2010. Life had gotten better and I was a willing "receptor" for the Sun's happy rays. Little did I know of the darkness to come at the end of that year.
I hope these photos show how your mind can translate your mood and feelings into the pictures you take. Not one of these photos were taken with the thought that they would become "visions" and I believe that if you shoot with intent then it is more art rather than a vision.
Now is a good time to look back upon the photos you have taken and try to recall what kind of mood you were in at that period in your life. It might surprise you to see what you have done and how your camera may have read your mind without you knowing it.