Street photography as therapy

Every now and again, I find myself feeling like there is so much I need do but I don’t know what should do. This is sometimes due having a lot of tasks to do, or big projects which are some way off but with nothing to do now. At these moments I usually go through a couple of loops which don’t actually help with this feeling. They are, looking through my task list again, and then either starting on one task, before feeling like I should do something else, and so stopping and then restarting that thing. OR going on social media and then feeling that feeling rise again and so looking at my list again, OR closing my task list, then reopening it a minute later.

However, there are a couple of activity which do help. One of which is street photography.

A state of flow

Street photography helps me get into a state of “flow”. That is where I am fully engage in a task and not distracted. It challenges me enough but not too much that it is dissatisfying. This state was first described by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, the Hungarian psychologist who wrote a book on the topic and describe it as being completely engaged with the current experience and key for happiness. If street photography brings about this state in you too, then it makes sense it should be theraputic.

Using Street Photography as therapy

So when I get this feeling, I like to grab my camera (usually the Ricoh GR thanks to its pocketability) and set off to shoot. Near my work I know a little root which has some nice backgrounds and can have good light at certain times. It also often has some interesting characters on the street. This lets me focus on a task and let that loop end. I feel more relaxed even though I’m concentrating a lot.

Once I’ve done this half an hour loop, I usually know exactly what I should do. Even when i don’t, that feeling of stress is usually gone and so I’m not worried anymore.

Do you use street photography for therapy?

Do you use street photography for therapy? Share your insights in the comments.

Originally published at Chris J Wilson.