// >//]]>
...feed your soul with art & creativity!

Friday, February 8, 2013

More Happiness Please!

Last week I read about how Photographs can boost your Happiness.  It seems like everywhere I look this drive to be more happy is exploding on the scene.  Just look up the word happiness on your browser...you may get as many as 245 Million hits from which to choose.  That said, everyone should be able to find something that makes them happy.

With the advent of Social Networking venues, the sharing of every little photo op moment (even those that we sometimes wish people would not share) seems to bring a lot of happiness to the world at large.

I know personally that I absolutely adore Pinterest (having lost quite a bit of interest in other venues as a result of the far more creative outlet of Pinteresting—and yes, that is a Verb.)  Some nights, prior to falling asleep, I’ll Pinterest and my Sweetie swiftly thumbs through hundreds of photographs posted by others.  Many of those photos, especially the ones of animals and people’s pets, make us smile and laugh.  Happiness.
No fancy equipment needed.  Use a pinhole camera.
Photographs apparently boost happiness because we—the human species, love to see and remember the faces, the places and the experiences we have enjoyed or even…love.  I haven’t found it yet but I am certain that somewhere out there there is a study that quantifies happiness levels with the number of personal photographs displayed or viewed in ones surroundings—on the wall, as screen savers, in wallets…
Photographs are a lovely way to not only help yourself be happier, but to work the synapses of your brain and memory muscles by reviewing photo albums.  Some people even make this process into a family tradition on specific holidays. 

Yes, you’ve seen that enormous fish (that makes you just a tad jealous of cousin Bobby) and his grin a hundred times, but so long as you and cousin Bobby get along, each time you see that photograph there’s some endorphin rush of family-love that courses through your veins. 

Photographs help you remember happy times.  Think about it…you very likely do not pull out your camera in the middle of a family argument (although that might serve as a neuro-linguistic shock causing the argument to halt)…other than for insurance purposes, you don’t  whip out the phone to take a picture of your favorite car after it gets smashed up—because, unless you’re sociopathic, it doesn’t give you pleasure to see those pictures.  Thankfully, other than investigators and perhaps morticians, we as a culture no longer take posed photographs of the dead.

Not a happy family memory...Victorian Era post-mortem family portraiture
Human beings enjoy looking at faces—even when they are people we do not know.  We like to see faces full of character—faces that portray others full range of emotions—because it confirms that we are not alone.  Photographs of people abound.   MORE HAPPINESS PLEASE. 

So, all in all, I ought to be in a very happy place today.  I spent several hours at the Museum of Photography in Tampa today.  I hit it with perfect timing as I got to see one of the Masters of black and white photography’s great works.  Dorothea Lange’s compelling photos of the early and mid-20th century photos documenting the effects of The Great Depression were featured.  While the subject matter was not especially Happy inducing, the mere activity of being at a gallery was very happy inducing for me.

When I left the museum, I was inspired to take a few photographs of some visually arresting architecture, a lovely water fountain, and a large scale mosaic on the wall of the Children’s Museum of Tampa.  I have yet to screw up my courage and start taking photographs of people I don’t know in their natural setting.  But I am inspired to try it sometime…  Taking these pictures made me happy.

And further, those pictures will make me happy when I am able to find uses for my photographs in my art.  YET MORE HAPPINESS!

(c) SZing, Photo of artwork--glass enameled heart pendant

So, to wrap up…feeling down? Grab the camera and start snapping shots.  Or get on your computer and review some social networking photos.  Or…if you tend to prefer low-tech, get that family photo album out, make a cup of tea and spend an hour refreshing your memory and allowing your love-induced endorphins to zip around your body spreading happiness.  It’s oh so easy.  Check out The Happy Movie for more.