How Photography Enhances Relationships

Recently a friend of ours passed away, an elderly widow who was the mother of nine. It fell on me to deliver our gift of condolence to her home and as I stepped inside the front door, my eyes were immediately drawn to a living room wall where a large artistic portrait of the entire family was displayed. As I stood there studying it for several moments, the picture quietly said a lot, with considerable impact, about a relationship and how photography can enhance relationships.

feature relationships in photos for stronger bond

Photo by Ben Grey; ISO 2000, f/1.4, 1/200-second exposure.

Was It Art?

It’s being a group portrait did not prevent it from being art. When you stop to think about it, there are a considerable number of classic art works done by the masters which are essentially group portraits. Take, for example, Rembrandt’s “Night Watch”—and there isn’t any question about their being art. So, I would have to say yes, the picture was an example of art. It had been produced with skill and taste, effectively employing the principles of good artistic composition. And the artistic aspect contributed much to the picture’s power in connection with the relationship portrayed.

How Art Imagery Can Enhance Relationships

By Emphasizing Ties, Being Together & Roots. The picture called attention to a group of people that was far more than an arbitrary one. The similarity of physical characteristics amongst them clearly stated, “This is a family.” And the attitude reflected in their faces, one of gladness at all of them being together, strongly conveyed the idea that they not only recognized but also embraced the fact of being a family. And the manner of dress and deportment on the part of the parents in the picture gave some indication about the family’s European roots and culture. All of this was accentuated by an interesting and informal balance within the arrangement, with the parents as a primary focal point.

By Showing Emotion & Feelings Shared. There was a warmth that pervaded the picture. The people shown obviously had strong, positive feelings for each other. You could see the love, affection, and pride in their faces. The photographer that took the portrait clearly knew about the importance of expressive qualities in an artistic composition and knew how to include it with a telling effect.

By Revealing Times, Occasions & Background Shared. Since everyone in the portrait was an adult, the picture visually implied that they must have, at least while growing up, spent a good deal of time around each other, and as a result were comfortable together. And the portrait itself served as an indication of a family spirit that made them all readily disposed to come together, to share special times and places together. As a group, they were a made-to-order subject/theme which is the primary principle behind any work of art and in this picture the subject/theme was clearly manifest.

build bond with relationship photos

Photo by Martin Cooper; ISO 400, f/2.8, 1/200-second exposure.

The picture was much more than simply a document that portrayed the faces of a family. Each time the parents looked at it they must have been reminded, and moved, about what their life together really meant. When the children dropped by and viewed it from time to time, their mental focus was probably brought back, if only momentarily, to where they came from. And the child who inherits that group portrait almost certainly will be displaying it prominently on a wall somewhere in his/her home and with each look at it experience a reminder of the family relationship for years to come. While displayed in the parent’s home it has spoken to every visitor that came into the home about close kinship, strong bonds, definite values, good times together and origins. And it also, no doubt, prompted many conversations with the visitors that only served to further enhance their perceptions and appreciation for the relationship. I know that it definitely enhanced my perceptions of, and respect for, the family. The picture acted as a visual stamp of validation for the family’s relationship.

Art Imagery Enhances Relationships: A Wake-up Call

Time can pass by quickly and circumstances can change drastically. The opportunities to appreciate and enjoy relationships or special occasions spent together can soon disappear, with little if any trace left behind, if we’re not careful. It is a sad but true fact that when many people pass on, the only things they leave behind for their dear ones to reflect on are some memories or a few hastily taken, fuzzy snapshots of themselves. How much better to make, and take, the time to get some quality artistic images made that are a pleasure to look at and enhance, both for ourselves and those that really matter to us as well, the meaningful relationships we’ve had. Here are just a few more of our numerous relationships to be kept in mind, which can be beautifully enhanced by artistic imagery:

  • Couples in Courtship
  • Weddings
  • Anniversaries
  • Parent & Child
  • Child & Pet
  • Friends
  • Colleagues & Partners
  • Dear Ones in Their Familiar Spaces & Places
  • Places & Scenes Visited & Frequented Together
  • Kinds Of Places & Scenes, Seasons & Times, Things, Special To Us
enhance relationships with great photos together

Photo by Brian Wolfe; ISO 640, f/6.3, 1/125-second exposure.

About the Author:
John Maxymuik has written a series of articles, “Art Imagery Can…” This is the last in the series, and it cites “Kinds Of Places & Scenes, Seasons & Times, Things, Special To Us”. To view a selection of such kinds of imagery please visit his art photo site at ambienceimages dot net.

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4 responses to “How Photography Enhances Relationships”

  1. Christopher Chance says:

    I just wrote a speech last week for class on the subject ot photography and how it effects your own morale and self esteem.

    Here is the speech:

    Photography Speech

    Hello. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, but do you ever think about the feelings involved with both taking and viewing those pictures? How do you feel , what do you think when you’re taking photos or viewing them afterwards?

    A picture is a piece of time captured for posterity, an event and through something magical about the human spirit, when we view those pictures we recall the feelings involved with the event. While we photograph parts of our lives we are escaping the reality that on any other day would be wearing on us and reminding us of our responsibilities elsewhere.

    Photography as a hobby can take you places and make you look at the world in ways you don’t normally consider. It opens your eyes to the world which normally only sits in your physical, emotional, and philosophical blind spot as you drone through your waking days.

    When one slows to look at the world through an artist’s perception, the doldrums of any other day pale by comparison. For the time you consider your picture and time spent looking through the eye piece, you are somewhere else, and nothing else matters. In this day and age of 9 to 5 thinking where everyone spends there day worrying about paying the next bills, straining over the politics and other factors that determine the course of our lives, where tunnel vision is the normal way to contemplate things, one needs a breath of fresh air, a chance to look and see what your missing. Photography offers this in abundance.

    I am disabled, before my disability I was an overly active individual, I was a martial arts instructor, I participated in many extreme sports such as rock climbing, scuba diving, hang gliding, sky diving and fencing. The nature of my disability precluded me from doing those for seven years. I felt hopeless and lost not being able to do the things I loved. I decided I needed to start recording new memories and focusing the need to do those things into a new hobby, since this was going to be a new start for me; I chose photography.

    These days photography motivates me to get up and move, to get outside and participate in life again. To not stay indoors all the time feeling sorry for myself, it has given me goals and hopes. I enjoyed doing it so much that it inspired me to return to my roots and experiment with something from my childhood, graphic arts. I took the memories I already had from my experiences and new experiences from traveling and taking pictures to create art. I decided to start a studio of my own, and then decided to make this new life official by taking what I knew and going to school. Here I am.

    I can now see a future again; where I thought I had lost one. It’s a bright colorful future, I plan on continuing with school attaining my Masters and starting my own brick and mortar studio, where I can share all my new experiences and ideas through visual communications. I see potential, photography has helped me recover my self respect and dignity, I do things that matter again. I can make a difference through my work by opening others eyes to what is really out there in the world and to prove there is more than just a hum drum 9 to 5 tunnel vision life, and maybe infect them with the enthusiasm and need to be a shutterbug as well, if even only from time to time.

    Personally photography has re-opened the world to me. I had shut it out when I thought I could not participate anymore. I was hurt and became angry and took it out on those I love. I had no outlet, and it showed.

    Professionally photography has become an increasingly larger aspect of my graphic design career. I have begun incorporating my photography into my designs, adding pieces of my images into surrealistic and abstract design.

    These new opportunities have filled me with excitement, enthusiasm, and a bright new attitude on life, one that I relish as greatly as I did my old life. A healthy part of my enthusiasm is aimed at sharing with others how this love of photography can really open a new world or at least brighten the one you currently live in.

    Photography has much to offer anyone who dares tread its path. It will make you slow down and really take an in depth look at what you really see day to day, and some things you see more rarely, it will allow you to capture the uniqueness that surrounds you and hold onto it, as success breeds success, photography will lure you down further roads you have never been and you have nothing to do but gain from it.

    The hobby is strenuous enough that it will provide exercise both physical and mental. And one of the greatest things about it is that it doesn’t have to replace anything, it is an add on to anything else you already do. If you bicycle, take a camera with you or even mount a video cam to your helmet, the same if you sky dive, rock climb or even scuba dive. The potential of photography is as unlimited as the number of possible photos you can take.

    I have discussed with you how adding photography can enhance your life and really allow you to see it fully, as I have done. It can show you the true beauty of every little thing. It can actually enhance the prime moments of your life and let you keep them forever. Thank you.

  2. khushi solanki says:

    what an inspiring story
    after my own retirement my son presented me with a D90.Since then i have learning to make best oot of it.
    i dont know how far i have reached.
    “These days photography motivates me to get up and move, to get outside and participate in life again. To not stay indoors all the time feeling sorry for myself, it has given me goals and hopes” u have put in your article which i have quoted above , is so very true with me too.
    now i am going to go OUT more and shoot more, and express my feelings in this lovely media.
    many thanks

  3. R. G. MENON says:

    I learned alot from the article. However much better it would have been if that portrait was reproduced in the photograph!!. That is some thing I have noticed in almost all articles on photography. The photograph under discussion is seldom shown in the article. I am a bigginner and hence the comment.

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