Photo-therapy

What regularly attracts me to the creation of photography is the escapism it provides, where the daily burdens and strains are temporarily forgotten, the decision to focus upon the genre or area of landscape photography is predominantly due to the strong connections to landscape – the one environment where you can reflect and relax…

Furthermore the difficulties of trying to understand other people and their intentions, resonated with me and I felt a strong desire to try and understand myself better as an individual – which I haven’t previously paid much thought or directed a lot of attention towards. Whilst trying to uncover and learn more about myself through the action of photographing, I hope and aim for the work to reflect this though process. The idea and process of image creation serves as a photo therapy. I felt it beneficial to try and better understand the purpose of photo therapy, its aims and how it can be applied to my professional practice.

As noted by Phototherapy (2008) the principle of photo therapy is regularly employed as a form of psychological technique and often utilises an individual’s : family album, snapshots, or online images as a focal point for conversation and dicussions which have memories and emotions attached. (Phototherapy, 2008) A photograph can be of great importance in allowing an individual to explore their feelings and emotions without the difficulties and restrictions that wordsand spoken language can create.

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SPENCE, J. & MARTIN, R. (1985) Phototherapy, (My Mother, Gladys Clode). [Photograph]
Jo Spence (1934-1992) a British photographer recognised for her commercial photography, and during the 1970s Spence tailored her work to suit the documentary genre. Spence is arguably most recognised for her photographic representations of her fight with cancer. Spence collaborated with the photographer and pyschological therapist Rosy Martin (1984) and together they developed ‘photo-therapy’ which as noted by Jo Spence (2017) photo-therapy aims to reverse the roles of the photographer and subject; allowing for the model or individual being photographed to have authority over their own representations and furthermore borrows ideas and techniques from co-counselling. (Spence, 2017)

As noted by Jo Spence (2017) The Final Project‘s (1991-1992) intention was formed as a response to a diagnosis of Leukemia and this body of work was purposefully created as her retirementand final series. (Spence, 2017) There are strong references to death and mortality in these images, it is extremely difficult to illustrate emotions, feelings and fears easily through photography, however I would argue that Spence symbolised the hidden or internal thoughts, feelings and concepts successfully. Personally one of the most poignant images from the series is highlighted below.

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SPENCE, J. & DENNETT, T.(1991-92) Final Project.

Although there is not the intention of including the idea of figure in my imagery, Jo Spence’s battle with cancer is a subject which I can personally relate to. With the diagnosis of my mother in recent months, it has brought to light the fears, hopes and dreams of someone who has been diagnosed; it has further strengthened the persistant, most commonly subconscious thought of mortality; and the ideas of trying to achieve your goals and aspirations whilst we exist as humans. Spence’s documentation through her journey resonated with me; even through her illness she continued to be creative, I truly find this inspirational and in a similar manner my mother has continued to show incredible strength despite the frightening experience…so I would suggest that exploring landscape and the idea of phototherapy, allows me to try to come to terms with this, alongside my difficulties with autism.

REFERENCE LIST:

GOOGLE. (2017) Co-Counselling. [Online] Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=co-councilling&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=hJa9WMy8BMzO8gfg1ZyoDA#q=co-counselling&* [Last Accessed: March 2017].

PHOTOTHERAPY. (2008) PhotoTherapy and psychological Aesthetics of Photographs. [Online] Available from: http://phototherapy.org.uk/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: Biography. [Online] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/biography.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: Phototherapy. [Online Image] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/phototherapy/phototherapy_thumbs.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: The Final Project. [Online Image] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/final_project/final_project_thumbs.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

ACCESS MAGAZINE. (2012) The Therapy Room: Phototherapy and Therapeutic Photography. [Online] Available from: http://www.accessmagazine.co.uk/the-therapy-room/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].

CASAGLIA, M. (2012) Jo Spence’s Photo-Therapy.  [Online] Available from: http://www.positive-magazine.com/jo-spences-photo-therapy/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].

GOOGLE. (2017) Co-Counselling. [Online] Available from: https://www.google.co.uk/search?q=co-councilling&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-ab&gfe_rd=cr&ei=hJa9WMy8BMzO8gfg1ZyoDA#q=co-counselling&* [Last Accessed: March 2017].

KANE, A. (2015) Confronting, Intimate, Honest and Uncomfortable. [Online] Available from: http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/22149/1/confronting-intimate-honest-and-uncomfortable [Last Accessed: March 2017].

MARTIN, R. (2017) CV. [Online] Available from: http://www.rosymartin.info/cv.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

PHOTOTHERAPY CENTRE. (2017) PhotoTherapy Techniques. [Online] Available from: https://phototherapy-centre.com/phototherapy-techniques/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].

PHOTOTHERAPY. (2008) PhotoTherapy and psychological Aesthetics of Photographs. [Online] Available from: http://phototherapy.org.uk/ [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: Biography. [Online] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/biography.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: Phototherapy. [Online Image] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/phototherapy/phototherapy_thumbs.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: The Final Project. [Online Image] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/final_project/final_project_thumbs.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

SPENCE, J. (2017) Jo Spence: Work. [Online] Available from: http://www.jospence.org/work_index.html [Last Accessed: March 2017].

WIKIPEDIA. (2017) Jo Spence. [Online] Available from: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jo_Spence [Last Accessed: March 2017].

 

 

 

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