Happiness in Photos

This post is for my good friend who asked me to participate in her happiness project. To be honest, it has kind of slipped to the back of my mind the past few weeks…so I’ve decided to write 1 long post about my discoveries on this journey. Instead of taking photos of happy moments e.g. selfies with friends, I took photos of things that make me happy. With uni, work and uni-work, I don’t have much time to spend time with the people that make me happy.

So topic 1: the process of taking photos and reflecting. I love photography, and I like to consider myself a photographer (even though I’m really not). I enjoy taking photos of things I love, beautiful scenery and just random things that bring me even the slightest bit of happiness. Usually, I look at a photo and take note of 2 things as soon as I take them:

  1. Technique- how technically good is this photo?
  2. Meaning/feeling- does it say something?

But in this task I’m analysing my photos from a different perspective: do these photos make me happy? Did taking these photos make me happy? I tend not to reflect too often or too deeply on things, as I overthink and end up feeling pretty crappy about myself. However, reflecting on photos tends to have the opposite affect. Firstly, if it’s a technically good photo, I feel great- much more confident in my ability and proud of myself. Secondly, photos bring back feelings; they remind me of good times or make me look forward to potentially exciting times.

Now that have a better understanding of how I think regarding photography and reflecting, its time for topic 2: actual photo reflections.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 9.38.52 pm

  1. I hate mornings- especially Monday mornings. But when I got in my car at 6:30am, backed out of the driveway and saw this, I was blown away. Who knew something this beautiful could make my morning! It honestly made getting up so early so much better- hence why its instagram caption was , “I’m not a morning person, but I could be for this.” Looking back on this photo, I remember this Monday morning. I just feel at ease when I look at this photo and think how beautiful nature is.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 9.38.45 pm2. It was a tough day for me when I took this photo. I had 3 landscapes to do that were due 2 days after I took this shot. I was absolutely stressed out of my mind, feeling so anxious and uninspired. I dreaded going to the beach that afternoon to try and take photos. I struggled at first. All of a sudden, I had an idea. I played around. It worked. And I felt bloody amazing. I felt like I had achieved something and captured nature’s beauty in an abstract way. When I think back to the day I took this photo, I feel proud of myself for working through the struggle and finding that inspiration. I hated the process of taking this photo, but felt so satisfied with the outcome. I even felt inspired enough to stick around Cronulla for another hour in the freezing cold- which brings me to #3.

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3. I ended up moving around the same area for almost an hour photographing the sunset after a rainy day. The waves were huge; they crashed violently on the rocks and pathway walls. But sunset and the beach after a storm- two of my favourite things to take photos of, work so beautifully together. I was in awe, and couldn’t bring myself to go home. Technically, this isn’t an amazing photo. But it brings back positive memories of that day a few weeks back.

Screen Shot 2015-05-30 at 9.38.38 pm4. After waiting for a month, my new camera finally arrived! I was so excited! Unlike my other photos where I felt pretty crappy before taking them, I was ecstatic. This photo evokes different feelings: it brings me excitement and anticipation, as I will capture more memories with this device in years to come. It makes me look forward to the future.

And the final section: conclusions. Although I did not enjoy taking ¾ photos due to my mindset when taking them, I enjoyed reflecting upon them. Obviously some made me feel happier than others, and in different ways. #1 made me feel at ease; #2 made me feel proud and relieved; #3 made me feel appreciative, while #4 brought anticipation and excitement for the future. Honestly, I don’t know if I can say that this exercise has made me feel happier overall. I love taking photos, don’t doubt that, but I haven’t exactly been the happiest person lately so its been pretty difficult to find things that really make me feel happy. I think if I did this exercise again in a better mindset, it would definitely improve my overall happiness.

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