Therapeutic Photography just came to me. I was in a spiritual retreat, and suddenly, during the workshop realized that I can show people the reflection of their soul through the use of my camera.
First of all it is important to understand I am NOT a therapist. What I am is a very sensitive being that is walking the spiritual path and has professional photography experience. Saying I have a professional photography experience is an understatement as I love, live, and breathe photography in all its elements. All these reasons combined are why I can use photography as a tool for inner-work.
What does Therapeutic Photography mean? For example, let’s use a 30 year old woman who walks in to my studio and immediately says “I am not photogenic”, proceeding with arguments to support her claim: “I don’t like my eyes, they are too small”, “I’m fat”, “I have big teeth” and so forth.
In the Therapeutic Photography sessions that are done in the privacy of my home studio and are completely confidential, the camera functions as a mirror for the person being photographed. A mirror of their soul, reflecting what they hide behind the façade they usually put up when being photographed. These sessions bring up the things we normally don’t look at.
The process starts with a phone consultation, during which I listen to the person being photographed tell me why they are coming, what it is they wish to see. Based on what I am told I advise them what to bring with them to this session. The next step is the Therapeutic Photography session itself. Arriving at my home studio usually feeling very uncomfortable about what they are about to do – which turnes into a sense of surprise when they realize during the session how freeing it is – by the end of the session many people find themselves dancing in front of the camera.
The process continues when they see their photos from the session for the first time. Using the photographs, they look back at the process they went through during the studio session, and now can see their inner selves reflecting back to them. Many realizations come up in this stage of the process, which can sometimes feel uneasy as this is an unfiltered reflection.
When I photograph, my goal is to become one with my camera in order to reflect to the person in front of the camera their beauty – even the parts they like less about themselves can appear beautiful through this different perspective.
When I first started Therapeutic Photography it was important to me to go through the process myself. I turned to a friend who is a professional photographer to photograph me. I chose to share this photo Yaniv Druker took of me because it is the hardest one for me to look at. When I look at it I see how much I have aged, I see I have one eye smaller than the other. But the deepest pain reflecting in this photo for me is my femininity. I found in Yaniv’s studio a wedding dress, and chose to wear it for this photo. There is a good reason why I chose it. I didn’t have a wedding dress when I got married, which to me says a lot about how I felt about myself and marriage in general. The pain I experience seeing myself in this photo is a sense of missing out on life. It is also a sense of confusion about what kind if a woman I am. I can see all that reflecting in my eyes. The first time I saw this photo I set in front of it and cried. Now I can embrace it, and everything it means to me. Now I can grow from it.
I have been a professional photographer for 17 years, and thanks to this tool, the camera, I continuously discover new worlds. Today I am happy to reflect to others a new world of their own. A world that existed in them all along – they just never saw it. What a great gift!