Life-Affirming Photography

Dear friend,

A small epiphany: Make photos that affirm life; not negate life!

Choose positivity

Let me explain:

A lot of photography in the world is about the pain, suffering, and misery of life. A lot of photography highlights the cruelty of humanity, the injustice, and a lot of this photography ends up being very pessimistic in nature. Much of photography (in my eyes) doesn’t show that life is worth living. Rather, these types of photos tend to negate life– that shows that somehow being born was a mistake (think of the pessimistic philosophy of Arthur Schopenhauer). However it is of my personal belief that life is great and amazing– and there is no greater blessing than being alive!

Why not be optimistic?

Of course, there is a lot of pain and suffering in the world. But remember; there is so much (more) joy, happiness, and human flourishing!

I think us (my fellow life-affirming photographers) — we must seek to make photos that affirm life. We must make photos that bring smiles to our viewers. There is already so much negativity in the media, press, and TV. Why not be the change we wish to see in the world– to inject some more positivity and optimism for the future?

Rose-colored glasses

Reality is colored by our own perspective of the world. We decide whether we wish to see happiness in the world. We can also decide if we see negativity.

Let me give you a practical example: You can visit a coffee shop, and if you’re in a negative/pessimistic mood, you will only see/notice the negative/sad-looking folks. But if you’re in a positive mood, you might see more people who are smiling and laughing, and enjoying time with their friends. The reality of the coffee shop is the same– but your perception of the mood of the people there is going to depend on your personal mood / your perspective.

Be the change you wish to see in the world

I do believe that having empathy for our fellow human beings is important– this will encourage/motivate us to help those who are suffering. However at the same time, to be negative/pessimistic (without trying to make a positive change) is a waste of time/energy.

Therefore this is my simple suggestion:

Acknowledge the pain and suffering in the world, but choose instead to affirm life by making optimistic/positive photos of the world.


Photography Philosophy

Cindy with framed hands. Saigon, 2017

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