Photography for wellbeing and self discovery | Head On Photo Festival

Photography for wellbeing and self discovery



We’re often told our addiction to smartphones is bad for our health. But could our phone’s camera be a key to our wellbeing?  Photography can allow us to express feelings we can’t put into words, foster positive emotions, develop personal insight and an authentic voice, and may help reduce stress, anxiety and depression. 

Although we collectively shoot and upload millions of images daily to social media, preconceiving specific images and expectations and judgements about ‘likes’ for our photos, prevent us from being relaxed and in tune with our natural creativity. The result is an ad-hoc collection of often clichéd images or poor attempts to emulate others, rather than genuine personal expression.

Mindful photography is like mindfulness meditation in action. Looking through a camera distracts us from past or future concerns and makes us (literally) focus on what we see before us, in the present moment. It allows us to simply observe, rather than strive, to see the world through the eyes of a child with a sense of wonder and curiosity. In slowing down and immersing ourselves in the creative process with all our senses, we discover what might be revealed within our subject’s light, tone, colour, contrast, texture, shadow, perspective and composition.

Exploring what we notice, and thoughts and feelings that arise, often reflects other aspects of our lives. Our photos then become infused with our thoughts, perspectives and emotions and allow a tangible means of witnessing our real selves.

Free Artist Talk

Jennifer will be giving a free artist talk in the Festival Hub Paddington Town Hall on 9 May at 11am.





Jennifer Blau

Jennifer Blau is a professionally registered art therapist (AThR) and photographer with an interest in the intersection between photography and psychology, and is passionate about optimising wellness in the general population using arts-based approaches as well as helping clients with a range of mental health and emotional issues. She has Masters degrees in Art Therapy MA (ATh) and in Documentary Photography (MDP).  Jennifer has previously exhibited her work in several exhibitions in Head On Photo Festival and has also been a finalist in the Head On Portrait Prize. In 2013, she published The 50 Book: Women Celebrate Life.



In this workshop with art therapist and photographer Jennifer Blau you will:

-gain an introduction to mindfulness and its benefits to health and wellbeing
-experience mindfulness-based photography exploring nature as  metaphor
-learn techniques to develop mental openness, increase self awareness and develop an authentic voice
-improve your photography as you enhance your observational process
-edit and reflect upon images you may find personally resonant
-select one image to further explore creatively: write, draw – and/or simply share with others.


Anyone interested in how photography might be a tool for wellbeing. No special ability required but a basic understanding of how to use your smartphone camera will be assumed.


Your fully charged smartphone and a sense of curiosity. Wet weather and/or sun protection, as required, when shooting outdoors. Frenchy’s cafe is onsite or BYO refreshments.


Cost: $120 GST inc.

Limited to 15 students

Date:  20 May 2018

Time: 1-4pm

School of Fine Art (SoFA)
Headland Park
Building 13, 1100a Middle Head Rd.




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