Photography can be a tool for healing. It can open us up to the unknown in new and exciting ways, or ground us and bring us closer to what we find familiar.
For many photographers, it can be a life changer. Photography can alter the course of your career, it can connect you with people you never would have met otherwise and it can take you places you never thought possible.
In honor of National Photography Month and Mental Health Awareness Month, we asked our passionate community on social media how photography has shaped their lives and changed them for the better.
Read some of our favorite responses below. And if you haven’t yet shared your answer, we want to hear from you, too! Reply to the following tweet, tag us on social media (@photoshelter) or write in the comments below and share your story.
Cover image courtesy of Ami Vitale
“As a young woman, I was painfully shy, gawky and introverted. I did not have a clear direction or know what I wanted to do when I grew up. Something incredible happened when I picked up a camera. The second I held it in my hands I felt like I had hidden superpowers. By taking the attention away from myself and putting it on others, I felt invisible and empowered. It allowed me to dive into situations I never would have had the courage to do. Today, my motivations are very different from when I began. Photography and storytelling are much more than a tool for my own self empowerment. It has this instant ability to connect people and it becomes a tool for creating awareness and understanding; a tool to make sense of our commonalities and differences in this world we share.”
“Photography as an artistic expression of who I am is so interwoven its hard to decouple one thing… It’s also so much more than that, photography is a way for me to understand, interpret, and come to terms with a confusing and often frustrating world. Some days it serves as a simple escape, to enter into a flow state and immerse myself in an environment. Other days it serves as a megaphone to communicate and share my perspective on the world.”
Tutone Lyles Naranjo
“As a novice iPhonographer for the past 7 years, my entire perspective on how I see has shifted firstly to my inner progress as a human being. The fear of exposure falls away as I step into an unknown realm filled with possibility and love and I become quiet as I persevere and focus on what I want or need to say.”
“Photography is how I make sense of an increasingly troubling and disconnected world.”
“Ever since I picked up a camera aged 10, it has taken me on so many journeys around the world, it’s amazing to look back and see what I seen and experienced on any trip I have taken. So many eyes have been opened along the way. I know I am different and I am ok with that.”
“Photography is the key that has opened almost every adventure I’ve had in my adult life. It has opened doors personal and artistic. It has made me more disciplined, kinder, patient, compassionate and it never stops teaching me how to be better at those things.”