In my TEDx talk, ‘How Photography Saved My Life‘, a major theme I discuss is how my photography helped me become aware of the second person. It starts off as the literal second person in my photos that I fail to notice, but it represents much more.
If you haven’t viewed the talk yet, I suggest watching it before proceeding.
You see, this is a theme that spreads throughout my life, making it hard for me to see those people who are there to love and support me.
It was a big problem that contributed to my loneliness, anxiety and depression.
In my talk, I give two prominent examples from my photos with The One Project: The Lone(ly) Surfer [see above] and Love / Loneliness (The Fine Line) [see below].
The latter had been pointed out to me by someone else, a jarring shift in my perception given to me by an outsider.
That was like a gift and it helped me begin to see a pattern throughout my photos — and my life. I believe that’s what helped me become aware of the same in The Lone(ly) Surfer.
I’ve improved tremendously in the way that I see myself and the world around me. I’ve overcome the severe depression and anxiety I was stuck in for so long — which is why I’ve begun to notice this more in my photos.
But it’s something I’m still working on. And my TEDx talk is a perfect example of this.
Let’s go back to three days before my talk.
I’m running through my talk over-and-over (performing nude to help alleviate any anxiety on the big day — you’re supposed to imagine yourself naked right?) and making sure my tone, cadence and delivery are all on point.
I start to scroll through my slides and I stop to notice the last photo that holds the quote “You are the most important project of your life.” I used a public domain image to create it and initially I chose it for the single individual standing on top of the large canyon and cliffs.
The single individual.
WHAAAAAAAAATTTTTT!?!?! There’s a second person in this photo!
A mind-blowing moment that made me want to change my talk with only 3 days left, but instead I decided I’d write this post. Probably a good idea.
I was left laughing hysterically and astonished that this had happened to me (now for the third time) along with the incredible timing of it all — only days before my talk.
I still struggle. This is something I’m still working to improve.
Every day I try to shift my awareness (if only momentarily) to those in my life who love, care and support me in some way and I do my best to practice gratitude for it all.
You are not alone.
You just haven’t seen the second person yet.
Do you know have patterns in your photos or the way you see them? Share them along with your thoughts in the comments below!
If you’re interested in learning more about therapeutic photography and how it can be used to help with depression and anxiety, you can sign up for our next free webinar or try out our new online course.
The One Project is the photography community for people suffering from depression and anxiety. We teach how therapeutic photography (the healing power of photography) techniques can be used to better express, understand, and overcome these issues with our private online platform and courses. Sign up for free now.
Please note: I always encourage photography to be a tool within your “toolkit” of techniques and support if you’re struggling with a serious issue like depression or anxiety. It’s not a replacement for professional help.