To Capture The Black Dog: How Photography Improves Mental Health

Aug 17, 2020 9:55 AM ET

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Indeed, dogs are man’s best friend. They follow us wherever we go. They play with us like an alter-ego. They give us comfort when our days seem dreary. But others secretly have this dog, a black dog—its name is depression. When you have a black dog, it does the opposite. They forcefully pull you with their leash, chew you whole, and bring desolation every moment.

These past few years, the number of people diagnosed with depression has risen. However, oblivious to the data, there are those people out there who are not yet diagnosed. Thus, they belong to the larger population of people who continue to battle with the black dog within, alone.

Depression is not supposed to be a battle of the lone. Primarily, when you start feeling that there’s something off, a proper diagnosis and prescribed medications from a psychiatrist must be made, or a counsel from a psychologist. Moreover, keeping in touch with those you think who understood you well is a great way to transcend depression.

Just like any dog, a black dog also has its leash—it is manageable. Besides seeking help from doctors, another outlet to dispel all the negativities contributing to the self-consuming depression is through photography.

Photography is a medium of art where someone can lay his artistic views and imbue emotions in every picture. The camera will be your tool, and you have various options.  Hence, here are some reasons for how photography improves mental health.

Follows the Flow

Positive psychology says that when you are too focused on a particular task or hobby and fathom only your progress, and unknowingly unnoticed how time swiftly fleets, you are in what they called “flow.” In this state, you allow yourself to be with arts and outsmart depression

Splurging yourself in photography allows you to encounter what they call the flow. The precursor of photography—from the location to the main subject and focal point—entails thorough concentration. The moment you stand and point the lens onto your subject is a vivid manifestation that as you become one with it, time is unfathomable.


Photography does not limit you from capturing everything you want. Besides, it even allows you to recapture anew and refocus your desired subject if it fails. Further, it is an avenue to reflect your values, insights, and desires, and create a spectacle—a setting you can call yours. This form of art gives you freedom because you can filter what to keep and discard.

In a nutshell, there are no right or wrong pictures as long as you have enjoyed doing photography.

Refocuses and Redirects Emotions

Captured photos display a variety of emotions, from the subject down to the smallest details. Photography is not only for those who capture heavy-weighted subjects as it can also portray candidness. This medium does not restrict you from putting your emotions in every picture; may it be happiness, sadness, or remorse.

Further, a paradigm shift of your typical photography allows you to venture into more challenging yet meaningful mediums. Trying a new genre, going to different locations, and focusing on unusual subjects is a great way to begin. When you let yourself go out of the box, it is a quintessence of bliss and satisfaction.

Traversing Through Different Genres

When you do photography,  you open yourself to loops of uncertainties that could lead to positive outputs. Further, psychology has proven that the variations of the genre in photography serve as a blank canvas where the person depicts what he has in mind. Enumerated below are the types of photography that someone can enjoy to improve mental health.

1. Landscape Photography

Being alone with nature detoxifies you from the daily grinds in the bustling concrete jungle, as blaring sounds extinguish focus. There were photographers’ photos depicting how they see sadness and anxiety in a series of black and white landscapes. With that said, not only does photography allow emotions to flourish in every photo, but it also shows people that it is therapeutic, especially to those who have a lone battle.

2. Street Photography

For you to counter your fear, you must face it. Similarly, in street photography, you place yourself in throng-sidewalks, parks, or the middle of the city to capture variations of moments that are most likely unpredictable. The essence of this type of photography is to appreciate the existence of ordinary things like interactions and conversations of people.

If you have agoraphobia, a fear of open and public spaces wherein absquatulation is difficult or impossible, street photography will help you to reckon your fear.

3. Macro Photography

Macro photography gives limelights to ordinary and little things by magnifying the subject such as insects, flowers, and water mists. In this photography, the foregrounds in the world become the highlight. Sometimes when you feel small, you fetal yourself in the corner, but with the help of this genre, you associate yourself in the little things and appreciate their magnificence when in focus.


Not only does photography capture the beauty of the world through the lenses, but it also captures the black dog that continues to follow. As a medium of art, photography is one of the many outlets where someone can engage and squander negativities. Photography might not be for you; however, there are many exciting things outside waiting for you.

On a serious note, depression and mental health problems are major concerns that a person must not live. Thus, it is still advisable to consult psychiatrists and psychologists to receive medication.


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