How Film photography improves Mental health

In recent years, the importance of mental health has become more prevalent as many people are becoming aware of how it can affect their daily life. However, it seems that mental health issue is worsening each year as cases of anxiety and depression rises, which may correlate with the increase in the use of social media or smartphone in general. The problem with these technologies is that people become disconnected from their environment as new digital information and images constantly fill their minds, not giving them time to rest. However, there are many proven ways to improve one state of mind, either through various breathing exercises, meditation, and even analogue photography! Specifically, taking photos with a film camera helps the photographer to slow down, practice mindfulness, and to become more patient. 

Unlike a smartphone, a photographer with an analogue camera is limited by the roll of film, which makes them take the picture at a slower pace as they need to make each shot count. The person behind the camera would ask whether the subject in front of them is worth taking based on the lighting and composition. The fact is that each photo taken has an associated cost, which relates to the purchase and development of the roll of film. Therefore shooting film forces the photographer to think before taking the picture.

 Aside from the increased use of the cognitive side of the brain, analogue photography also helps the development of mindful thinking. The definition of mindfulness is to be aware of our surroundings in terms of their characteristic like sight, sound, smell, and touch. The photographer can experience these senses fully as the urge to take the photo constantly is gone. So next time you attend a wedding as a guest, consider putting down your smartphone and thoroughly enjoy the ceremony. 

The noticeable difference between digital and analogue cameras is the required time for the image to process, as the former is instantaneous, and the latter requires time to develop. So instead of giving in to the instant gratification that a smartphone provides, waiting for a film image to process in a photo lab helps build patience. In the end, the developed photos generate more satisfaction than the digital ones, especially after all the investment in time, money, and effort poured into each image.  

While present technologies have provided many conveniences, they often come at the cost of our mental health. Therefore, breaking the cycle and giving ourselves room to slow down and focus on what is important in life through film photography.