choose supportive styles
If we are paying attention, nature has a way of supporting our ever-changing emotional needs.
The style of photography you choose at any moment has the potential to express your current state of emotion and/or help shift you to a different state. Both options have their benefit, but, either way, the benefits are maximized when you're using your camera intentionally.
Before I move into my personal insights on how I perceive photo styles, I want to be clear: this is by no means the only way to view the purpose of macro and landscape photography. Feel free to take what you want and leave the rest and/or adapt it to your own personal experience. Continue reading below for ideas on how to use macro and landscape styles of photography to support yourself.
Macro photography is my main style of expression. I find that when I take time to appreciate the little things, I'm less likely to take small moments for granted. When I can focus on everyday beauty, I find contentment no matter where I am.
This perspective became vital when, at the end of November 2016, I was uprooted from my life - work, home, social circle, region, etc. Over the next four years, I didn't really have my own home. I was fortunate to be hosted in other's homes in Minnesota and in England, Scotland, and France. While I always had a loving place to land, the losses, big and small, kept on coming.
My photography became more "universal" during that time, as I found myself making images of nature's details regardless of where I was living. Even when I was feeling homesick or like I couldn't survive another loss, picking up my camera got me closer to nature and I felt comforted. I didn't need to worry about the bigger picture, what was coming next, or how things were ever going to improve.
Macro can support feelings of closeness, timelessness, universality, and comfort.
Try using macro when you're feeling overwhelmed by change and uncertainty
and/or to provide comfort to others.
Now that I have my own home again for 2021, I've found my self creating more images that have a stronger sense of place again, too. Feeling more grounded and connected to a community that has always felt like home, even while away, my photography has begun to incorporate intimate landscapes that express the feeling of being attached to a particular place. The practice of doing things differently is a good mental challenge, as well. I've been using the Slow Photography Movement blog to get ideas on how to improve, but landscapes are hard!
Even though I still gravitate toward macro and I'm not great at landscapes, I choose intimate landscapes to express my gratitude for returning home. I can now use that photo style to reconnect to a bigger picture perspective and see more expansive beauty without feeling lost and untethered. I've also found that, without all the constant change and crisis management, I sometimes start to ruminate about what's happened in the past and I begin to feel isolated. When I get too focused on this narrative of loss, I can pick up my camera to get a broader view.
Landscapes support feelings of interconnection, exploration, and grounding in time/space.
Try using landscapes when feeling overwhelmed by repetition and rumination
and/or to provide connection to others.
If you're feeling overwhelmed by attempting to think ahead or want to focus on comfort, try framing the little details around you. If you're feeling overwhelmed by past thoughts or want to focus on connection, try framing the bigger picture. If you're not sure how you feel or what you want, try both and see what may arise.
After having a broken wrist that prevented me from making photos during a very stressful time, I can attest to the fact that this strategy can also be used without a camera. With or without gear, no matter what may be going on in your life (and there is likely a lot going on), you can use macro and landscape perspectives to support your emotional needs.
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Macro and landscape are clearly not the only styles of nature photography, if you gravitate toward a different style, consider what emotional need that style might be fulfilling. If you have insights to add, please share! You can either email me here or connect with me on Instagram.
How will you use different photos styles to support you?
Kristin Perry is a nature photographer navigating life's complexities by focusing on beauty.