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