What: Photography Club of Davis
When: Next meeting is at 7:15 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 13
Where: Blanchard Room, Stephens Branch Library, 315 E. 14th St., Davis
By Samer Alassaad
We have long relied on art to express our views, seek answers about our surroundings, meditate and therefore heal ourselves and make a difference in others’ lives. This healing power of art can benefit those with both physical and emotional stress by changing the body’s physiology to deep relaxation and the attitude to hope and positivity.
By art, we mean all creative processes including photography. In the book “God Is at Eye Level,” Jan Phillips explains how photography heals three times: The first time is when the photographer is in search of the image, the second healing belongs to the person being photographed, and the third healing belongs to the outside viewer.
The first step, however, is to see ourselves as artists. Although the concept of art may sometimes seem distant, there is no doubt that a photograph can be an expression of the photographer’s inner self and thus can be considered art.
For example, our choices of the subject, light, angle of view, equipment, processing and enhancing tools rely on what we think is worth capturing and how it connects us to dimensions outside of our self and communicates our message. Whether this art is appreciated by others and whether that matters to the artist is what could be questionable.
Furthermore, the photography process itself is a journey of discovery as well as of meditation. As photographers, we are always on a mission to uncover the mysteries of our surrounding; we see things that we used to pass by without noticing.
By discovering these hidden textures and patterns that appeal to us, we feel alive. When we mindfully free ourselves of preconceived pictures and open ourselves to the infinite possibilities of creativity in front of us, we elevate photography to a form of meditation.
Photography is an accessible medium of art. In its simplest forms, it requires only a camera, an instruction manual and loose imagination. Some may consider photography a lesser art form due to a variety of reasons, one of these is accessibility; on the contrary, this should be considered a strength. The immediate gratification found in making images can provide immediate healing.
In the midst of today’s complex life, a short break with a camera may be what we need to maintain a high spirit.
— Samer Alassaad is a co-founder and past president of the Photography Club of Davis and a UC Davis Extension OLLI photography instructor. Reach him at email@example.com