Photography, like all the great arts, requires determination, adaptability and satisfaction. These are also fundamental principals for cultivating good mental health. Photography can become anyone's "feel good" therapy if given the chance.

Written by Karla Darocas, Hons.B.A. Fine Arts (KarlaDarocas.com)

Once you learn the principles of good photography and how to command your camera as a tool to your creative self, then everyday will become a power-filled day of enlightenment and joy!

Photography also opens doors providing opportunities to explore, make money, travel, experiment, share experiences and push your personal self to be better.

Case in point...

I started as a photojournalist back in 1978 when I was 17 years old. I worked for my regional newspaper as a reporter and I was given one role of 12 black and white film. I had to deliver my report and at least 10 good photos to print with my report or I did not get paid!

Then, when I was in university (1984-1990) I was given a photography teaching job in return for a semester worth of tuition in barter. I had to teach photography principles, camera skills and darkroom techniques to university students. It was almost a full time position, but I did have other classes to attend. Once again, I learned that I had to empower my students with good photography skills and make them enjoy the class or I did not get paid!

As I continued to build my photography skills and teaching practice, I came to realise that photography was akin to all the great arts; being that throughout time you could produce a therapeutic sense of "awe" or as the kids say today, "awesome". The grand religions of all epochs knew of  this power to heal the mind and calm the soul with inspirational art.

While yoga or meditation are both great examples of ways to curate your consciousness, photography will also allow you to take stock of your mental landscape. With camera in hand, even the smallest accomplishment spills over your being and spreads joy and relieves tension.

Photography can also helps you to form relationships with places by seeking out their divine beauty as well as their quirky underbellies. Photo walks bring surprises and fresh air, not a bad combination, in fact, this is a valuable self-care programme. With a camera by your side, you will be encouraged to be attentive to your surroundings and your own thinking.

By learning photography and participating in the visual world you are paying attention to your sensory experience. Whenever you bring awareness to your own senses, you are being deliberately mindful. Like all great artistic endeavors, photography can reduce stress, while exercising the mind by focusing on subjects that are photogenic.

In conclusion, by becoming a daily photographer and developing your skills and a deep sense of surroundings, you are turning the power transformation into a carefully considered image, which comes together by the click of the shutter, with purpose and reason, causing a supreme feeling of elation. It is this "awesome" experience that brings forth a joy-filled sensation that aids in your mental health and wellbeing.

So get clicking to bring about a better you!!

Karla Darocas, Hons. B.A
Darocas Teaching Studio
* Benitachell, Spain *
Tel: 648 156 066