The Healing Art of Photography


The little Surma boy wanted me to take a photograph of him, I was finished shooting, but decided to take a photo anyway. He was nervous and looked scared and I didn’t get from it what I hoped to. I was tired and gave up, but it was bugging me that he looked so scared. I clapped my hands saying that he was great, others who have gathered around us, started to give a loud cheer and clapping hands as well. His face broke into a smile and that’s the moment I was waiting for, he felt seen and his efforts acknowledged. (Omo Valley, Ethiopia) ©Susan Greeff

Photography was first the creative outlet I was searching for, then it became my connection to others and the world around me, and without knowing it, it became my healer and voice. It took me on inner journeys; struggling to navigate the sometimes vague and rough landscapes of my life, relationships and personal issues, all the time wishing my future will come into focus of a happy fulfilled life. The healing, liberation and transformation it brought were a side product of photography that I did not anticipate. Moments of standing in awe of the beauty of life, people, and places and the privilege to capture that, not only with my camera, but also with my soul have been enriching and life giving.

The fears that run our mental/emotional beliefs to fully express our creativity through photography or any other creative medium can be anything like:

  • lack of confidence to put yourself out as a photographer
  • feelings of not worthy enough to be called a photographer
  • insecurity about the quality of your work and knowledge of your camera and post-processing skills
  • anxieties, depression or other life challenges that keep you from fully enjoying your photography and engaging with others
  • and more
We were taken on a guided tour through the village, I listened with one ear as I hear the laughter and joyful shoutouts of children. I looked through the fence and saw a bunch of kids skipping rope on the other side and was immediately transported back to my childhood of skipping rope on the playground. Who cares about worries and challenges in these moments of letting oneself fly through the air on the rhythmic turn of the rope. (Kidepo Valley, Uganda) ©Susan Greeff

Once we realise the healing and transformative qualities of photography we can utilise it for a better quality of life, more enriching experiences and soulful artwork.


  1. What is keeping you from fully living your life?
  2. What is keeping your from being fully engaged in your photography?
  3. What can you do now to take a step in changing how you feel about your life and photography?

Action Steps to Take:

  1. Answer above questions honestly
  2. Take out your camera, become mindful and shoot something that your eye caught
  3. Process it and write something about the image or process
  4. Share it with me in the Reply below
  5. Book your place on the Photography as a Healing Art Retreat September 2019









La Loba

The story of La Loba is a metaphor for all the inner parts of your being that got lost along the journey of life. You feel fragmented, lost and too tired to create a life of happiness and excellence. What if you were so lucky that La Loba would come upon you? Collect all your parts, put them together and as the light of your own being shines inside of you, you transform into the beautiful free and fully actualised person that you truly are.


“There is an old woman who lives in a hidden place that everyone knows but few have ever seen. As in the fairy tales of Eastern Europe, she seems to wait for lost or wandering people and seekers to come to her place.

She is circumspect, often hairy, always fat, and especially wishes to evade most company. She is both a crower and a cackler, generally having more animal sounds than human ones.

They say she lives among the rotten granite slopes in Tarahumara Indian territory. They say she is buried outside Phoenix near a well. She is said to have been seen traveling south to Monte Alban in a burnt-out car with the back window shot out. She is said to stand by the highway near El Paso, or ride shotgun with truckers to Morelia, Mexico, or that she has been sighted walking to market above Oaxaca with strangely formed boughs of firewood on her back. She is called by many names: La Huesera, Bone Woman; La Trapera, The Gatherer; and La Loba, Wolf Woman.

The sole work of La Loba is the collecting of bones. She is known to collect and preserve especially that which is in danger of being lost to the world.

Her cave is filled with the bones of all manner of desert creatures: the deer, the rattlesnake, the crow. But her speciality is said to be wolves.

She creeps and crawls and sifts through the montanas, mountains, and arroyos, dry river beds, looking for wolf bones, and when she has assembled an entire skeleton, when the last bone is in place and the beautiful white sculpture of the creature is laid out before her, she sits by the fire and thinks about what song she will sing.

And when she is sure, she stands over the criatura, raises her arms over it, and sings out. That is when the rib bones and leg bones of the wolf begin to flesh out and the creature becomes furred. La Loba sings some more, and more of the creature comes into being; its tail curls upward, shaggy and strong.

And La Loba sings more and the wolf creature begins to breathe.

And still La Loba sings so deeply that the floor of the desert shakes, and as she sings, the wolf opens its eyes, leaps up, and runs away down the canyon.

Somewhere in its running, whether by the speed of its running, or by splashing its way into a river, or by way of a ray of sunlight or moonlight hitting it right in the side, the wolf is suddenly transformed into a laughing woman who runs free toward the horizon.

So it is said that if you wander the desert, and it is near sundown, and you are perhaps a little bit lost, and certainly tired, that you are lucky, for La Loba may take a liking to you and show you something – something of the Soul.”

Clarissa Pinkola Estes, Women Who Run With The Wolves. Pp.26-28.


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