I grew up with photography. My Dad was a Pentax man and a member of his local camera club. Although it wasn’t until later in life that I’d get serious about photography myself, I was shown the ropes on Dad’s old ME Super and as an adolescent boy in the 80s I was always happy to thumb through a few old editions of Amateur Photographer.
A few decades on and a small collection of physical and mental illnesses under my belt, it has been photography that has often lifted me out of the funk of despair and returned me to sanity and (occasionally) even serenity.
You see, if I wasn’t so damn woke (!), I reckon hunting would bliss me out a treat – the process, not the kill. As an animal lover and Brit, however, that’s not an option. But behind the camera I can become the benign hunter I want to be. Crawling through the long grass or waiting silently by a pond for that perfect shot, all my anxieties are forgotten as I gratefully pour all my attention in to the moment. Eye to eye with a spider or catching a bee in motion mid-flight, I can share a moment with nature, capture it on camera and then shift my attention to the next subject.
The clifftop picture up top was the first decent shot I took the day I got my new Pentax K-70 DSLR. The toad was taken at work on my old Samsung GX-20, which imho counts as Pentax.
So if like me you are prone to a tempestuous inner monologue of depression, anxiety and doubt, I’d urge you to grab a camera and go out hunting for a moment of peace. You might find it helps. I hope so.
As for my Dad, I now understand why he found such solace in photography. We still go out taking pictures together, me with my Pentax and him with his Canon. Well I guess we can’t all be perfect.