The Psychology of Photography

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The Psychology of Photography

  1. 2. <ul><li>The PsychFutures Research Maps are a series of digests on the most popular Psychology related topics, whereby linking to podcasts, videos, journal publications, websites and blogs; ideal if you’re looking for inspiration to kick-start your dissertations and research projects. </li></ul><ul><li>The topics are varied, including Love, Sport and Music. To view the full list and download the other Research Maps click here or go to: www.psychfutures.ning.com /page/research </li></ul>Providing One-Stop Summaries and Directions For Your Research
  2. 3. A Photographer's Motivation <ul><li>There are two aspects of photography </li></ul><ul><ul><li>the process of taking the photograph </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>and the actual photograph itself. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Psychology can be applied to both parts. </li></ul><ul><li>Let’s look at the first in relation to motivation; a widely studied topic in psychology. What motivates someone to shoot photographs? Is it because they find the activity interesting and enjoyable, in which case they do it because they are intrinsically motivated? Or perhaps it’s their job; they get paid to photograph important events like graduation ceremonies and weddings and the money serves as an extrinsic motivator. </li></ul>
  3. 4. A Photographer's Motivation <ul><li>Of course, one can argue that to become a professional photographer you must enjoy the activity in the first place, and thus intrinsic and extrinsic motivators may go hand in hand. </li></ul>
  4. 5. A Photographer's Motivation <ul><li>Then there are the cases where everyone else is taking photos and you join in because you feel you have to. Remember the school prom? You may not enjoy spending half the night with a camera in your hand and have no interest in the end products (the photos), but you get involved because in that situation normative motivation drives your behaviour. </li></ul>
  5. 6. A Photographer's Psyche <ul><li>We've all seen those photos, those which are once in a lifetime shots. How are these captured? Some claim it's luck - that the photographer was in the right place at the right time. Others claim the skills of the photographer are largely influential. </li></ul><ul><li>For instance, their ability to understand and employ rules for good photography such as the rule of thirds , composition , and aperture . </li></ul><ul><li>Moreover, it is argued that it is the breaking of these rules that leads to the most creative and artistic shots and it is the photographer's psyche (inner hunches and egos) which inspires him/her to push the boundaries and create the most unique pieces of artwork. For those interested in this perspective, check out this blog post . </li></ul>
  6. 7. Photo-analysis <ul><li>When applying psychology to photography, much attention is devoted to the actual photograph, rather than the traits or states of the photographer. </li></ul><ul><li>Ever heard the phrase, “a photo is worth 1000 words”? This is what photo-analysts base their work on. Well, not exactly disentangling all 1000 words, but rather attempting to uncover elements of the picture. </li></ul><ul><li>Put simply, photos can provide real stories – relationships between people; emotions and feelings they are experiencing; and behavioural intentions. </li></ul>
  7. 8. Photo-analysis During Therapy <ul><li>Since 1856, photographs have been used as catalysts during therapy and counselling sessions to enhance insight in ways which are more difficult using words alone (for information concerning the history and development of using photos for these purposes click here ). </li></ul><ul><li>Such techniques are referred to as 'PhotoTherapy', of which there are five naturally overlapping categories . Whereas these techniques are conducted in fomal counselling/therapy sessions with with guidance of professional counsellors and therapists, individuals can also use photographs in self-initiated sessions (without the involvement of professionals) to enhance their awareness of their interpersonal relationships. Such activities are referred to as 'Therapeutic Photography'. For further information follow this link . </li></ul>
  8. 9. Useful Websites, e-Books, Articles, and Blog Posts <ul><li>Reading Pictures - &quot;A new way of looking at photographs that enriches the general experience, assists photographers with self-discovery, and offers new possibilities for professional application.” </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction to Photographic Psychology - A must-read, free-to-access e-book authored by John Suler. </li></ul><ul><li>John Suler's Flick photostream - An ongoing field study into the exploration of photographic psychology, forming the basis of the articles added to the book above. </li></ul><ul><li>Aesthetical Values of Photography - By Arnheim </li></ul>
  9. 10. Useful Websites, e-Books, Articles, and Blog Posts <ul><li>The Psychology of Photography - A blog post focusing on the role of a photographer's psyche. </li></ul><ul><li>Body language in 2D: Can we know people through a photograph? - A PsychFutures blog post. </li></ul><ul><li>Digital Photography School - Where photographers at all levels of experience can come together to share and grow in their understanding of photography. </li></ul><ul><li>PhotoTherapy Techniques in Counselling and Therapy - A website providing a range of articles which inform how photos are used at catalysts for communication in therapy context. </li></ul>
  10. 11. Useful Websites, e-Books, Articles, and Blog Posts <ul><li>PhotoTherapy - Recommended Readings - A full list of references recommended by the PhotoTherapy Centre. </li></ul><ul><li>PhotoTherapy Experts - An extensive list of short biographies and contact details of therapists using photography in their work. </li></ul><ul><li>Student Theses, Dissertations, and Papers - A list of projects on PhotoTherapy and Therapeutic Photography by students. In many cases, full articles are available for download. </li></ul>

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