For me, photography is an escape. It offers a creative release which isn’t generally available in everyday life. Those creative escapes can often be far more satisfying than just enjoying a few beers or binging Netflix.
Even if for only a minute or two in a day, it’s a chance to concentrate on something creative. To focus on making something beautiful, not because you have to, but because you want to. Knowing what might be the end result can put a smile on my face before I’ve even got the camera out. All the aspects of photography allow you to forget about everything else; the stresses and strains of life.
You can lose yourself in exploring an area looking for a location — in setting up your gear, and the rituals that come with that (we all have that certain way we like our gear set up juuust right). Unpacking the camera, selecting the right lens for the shot (maybe weighing up the pros and cons of each in your mind), focus, ISO, shutter speed. In finding the right composition, just moving that tripod leg ever so slightly.
Even the processes that go into post-processing can help de-stress and relax.
Depression and poor mental health can creep into your life without you realizing. And we’re all susceptible to it.
I’ve always found that getting outside in the fresh air, enjoying whatever situation I’m shooting, and then also focusing on the technicalities of the shot and capturing the image can really help to dampen down those negative thoughts and low feelings and almost act as a mental reset.
Photography can sometimes be a lonely experience, but I try to flip that on its head and enjoy the fact that I’m in control of what I’m doing, and there are no external distractions. Sitting on a hillside in the middle of the night, looking up at the stars, with the anticipation of what I might capture is such a calming feeling. It just lets me be in the moment and really appreciate what I’m doing.
Returning home with tales to tell and images to share gives a huge feeling of satisfaction. I think that not being depressed doesn’t have to mean you’re happy and dancing around with a smile on your face, but maybe just that you’re satisfied with what you have right at that moment.
About the author: Craig Skinner is a landscape, wedding, portrait, and astro photographer based in Yorkshire, Great Britain. The opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the author. You can find more of his work on his website, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also watch more of his videos on YouTube. This article was also published here.