Jottings on science, religion, technology, pop culture and faith from the Antipodes.

Digital Technology, Faith & Religion, Photography

Photography and Spiritual Formation (6): Healing

Related to the use of photography in spiritual formation are developments in the use of photography for therapeutic purposes. These range from the notion that doing something you might enjoy and which occupies your attention might help you be less concerned with life’s problems through to more detailed programmes of therapeutic photography.

I was reminded of this recently when I received an email promoting a free ebook promoting “self-healing through photography”. Now, I’m interested in this because I find that the intentional use of photography helps destress me, especially if it’s combined with physical exercise such as walking. I’ve also found the resources produced by the company producing the ebook, photzy, have been helpful tools for teaching me various things about photography.

So I downloaded the ebook from the link and had a quick skim through it. It’s part helpful hints and part promotional portfolio for the photographer who wrote it, and importantly does not claim to offer any medical or psychotherapeutic advice. Rather, the author says,

We all need healing from time to time, whether it’s from an illness, a broken bone, or a broken heart, or even from a disappointment or anxiety.

Photography is never going to mend a broken bone or cure a virus, but the creative process of photography can bring relief from stress, pain, heartbreak, and other negative experiences we need healing from.

This is a photography publication, and I am not a doctor, so in this guide I’ll not be delving into medical realms. However, I would like to share from my experience how photography can stimulate personal healing.


And that’s my experience – it can be helpful in creating something to focus on or to provide a different way of looking at the world that helps with stress and darker moods. I was also struck as I read the book of a photo of Lion Rock at the beach at Piha near where I live, which then had me turning to the back of the book to find out the photographer was a New Zealander (who is now based in Thailand).

You can find the eBook at the link below. It’s short, to the point, and might be helpful to you or others you know.

The author of the ebook also blogs at the link below providing some helpful photography advice.

As well as this ebook there are a bunch of other people using photography therapeutically.

The One Project ( is an online venture that mixes up online community with photographic tutoring and project support (depending on the level you pay for). It’s centered around the notion of discovering your “authentic self” (which is something that doesn’t vibe for me), but you can try the free stuff and see if its helpful. Their vision is described as:

We bring together people navigating their mental health and spiritual self who are ready to invest in themselves and support others in a big way by learning and using photography as a tool for creative expression and introspection to find and develop a solid foundation of healthy habits and tools, release attachment to negative narratives by reconnecting with our intuition and building a better picture and understanding of mental health for all free of stigma, judgement and fear.

You can see the TED Talk from their founder below

How Photography Saved My Life | Bryce Evans | TEDxSFU (2005)

The PhotoTherapy, Therapeutic Photography, & Related Techniques website make some helpful distinctions between therapeutic practices that use photography (PhotoTherapy) and photography which might have therapeutic benefits (Therapeutic Photography). It also has a list of other people around the world doing therapeutic photography:

Therapeutic Photography is the name for photo-based activities that are self-initiated and conducted by oneself (or as part of an organized group or project), but where no formal therapy is taking place and no therapist or counsellor needs to be involved.

In contrast with PhotoTherapy techniques — which are therapy practices — Therapeutic Photography techniques are photographic practices, where the intended goal is to produce positive change in individuals, couples, or families — but they also include broader Social Action Photography techniques where the goal is to improve well-being, reduce social exclusion, and create positive change at community, societal, national, or international levels.

feature shoot have a long article tracking the history of using photography for therapeutic purposes. (You have to give an email address to read the full article)

To better understand the potential of photographic images within a therapeutic context, we spoke with art therapists, therapists, and even a photographer who has been independently using her camera to cope with the COVID pandemic. Read on for insight into how therapists today are using photographs with their clients plus some inspiration for using image-making as a coping skill in your life, whether it’s on your own or with a mental health professional. 

Ellyn Kail – Photography as Self-Therapy: An Introduction for Beginners 

The article includes the disclaimer: “Disclaimer: This article does not contain medical advice. It is meant purely for informational purposes. Please consult a qualified professional for medical advice.” which is always good advice.