As photographers it can be easy to focus on the technical aspects of photography; the gear we use, the settings that are chosen. These are the easy parts of photography to distill down to something that can be reconstructed by another. But the real power of photography and our power as photographers is in our ability to tell stories, to capture moments, and heal others through the light we capture.
Wex Photographic recently put together three short films highlighting British photographers for their #MoreThanAnImage series. The purpose of the series is to emphasis and look at the power of photography as a tool for change and healing.
Giles Duley was a music photographer before deciding that he wanted to use his abilities as a photographer to advocate and document the lives of other people, specifically people in war zones. While in Afganistan, Duley lost three limbs to an IED, but he has not let that stop him, and to this day he continues to use photography as a tool to help raise awareness and advocate for the people he documents.
Daniel Regan was in a tough spot mentally when he realized photography was an integral part of his life. It was after a suicide attempt, and not being allowed to use his camera, that he realized how much capturing things through his photographic vision helped him, and how therapeutic it can be for not just those viewing, but also those shooting.
As Regan puts it in his video, the point of therapeutic photography is not about the image being good, the therapy is in the process, and the act of going out and looking for images. The end result, the images, they don’t matter so much.
Hannah Laylock is a fine-art photographer that had her world turned upside down by the diagnosis of Multiple Sclerosis (MS), something that her father had dealt with earlier in her life. “There isn’t an hour that goes by where I don’t notice my MS, but with photography, I’m getting closer to that sensation of forgetting my condition. There’s always that glimmer of hope that there’s going to be a positive out of a negative,” Laylock says.
The reason many of us have gotten into photography is because of how it makes us feel: everything from the process, to the editing, to the sharing. Photography is so many things to so many people, and for these three photographers specifically, it has been a defining piece of their lives, and the lives of those they have shot.