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Mindful Photography Competition

14 Mar 2023

Capture a moment that displays and encourages mindfulness for your chance to win a $200 gift voucher. The CRANAplus Mental Health and Wellbeing Team is running a Mindful Photography Competition – no fancy equipment or tourism-brochure locations required!

We’re invit­ing all rur­al and remote health pro­fes­sion­als to cap­ture a moment that both dis­plays and encour­ages mind­ful­ness in its atten­tion to small detail and curios­i­ty about the world. It could be a dew­drop on a leaf, pat­terns in the sand, or a cloud for­ma­tion — just to name a few ideas.

The com­pe­ti­tion is designed to encour­age par­tic­i­pants to take the oppor­tu­ni­ty to be more mind­ful and cap­ture some of the present moments’ they expe­ri­ence, wher­ev­er they are.

The mind­ful­ness of photography

Mind­ful­ness is about being total­ly aware of your­self and your sur­round­ings in each moment and ful­ly observ­ing what is hap­pen­ing with­in your body and the thoughts you have, with­out judgement. 

Engag­ing in mind­ful pho­tog­ra­phy is a pow­er­ful way to be in the present moment. In pho­tog­ra­phy, you are cap­tur­ing the moment – real­ly focus­ing, notic­ing the light and the sub­ject. It requires an aware­ness of what is cap­tur­ing your atten­tion – is it the colours of your sub­ject, the tex­tures, the shapes, or some­thing else? 

Mind­ful pho­tog­ra­phy can increase enjoy­ment and mem­o­ry for expe­ri­ences, gen­er­ate a pos­i­tive mood and height­en life sat­is­fac­tion¹. Do you have a pho­to on your phone that you revis­it reg­u­lar­ly? Does look­ing at it make you smile and take you right back to that moment in time and place?

The advan­tages of mind­ful­ness are immense. Have you expe­ri­enced the sense, when total­ly engrossed in a cre­ative pur­suit, fish­ing, snorkelling or even work, that you have lost track of time? In that immer­sion, you can expe­ri­ence a sense of peace­ful­ness, calm and con­tent­ment. Mind­ful­ness is about choos­ing what you wish to attend to’ in that par­tic­u­lar moment.

Mind­ful pho­tog­ra­phy can also be about see­ing the world dif­fer­ent­ly. Our per­cep­tion of our sur­round­ings great­ly impacts our sense of well­be­ing. Some­times our envi­ron­ment can seem less than ide­al. How­ev­er, when we zoom in, beau­ti­ful, fas­ci­nat­ing and remark­able things may emerge. Chang­ing the per­cep­tion of your sur­round­ings and zoom­ing in on the aspects that make it inter­est­ing will increase your engage­ment with them. This, in turn, gives mean­ing and improves over­all wellbeing². 

Tak­ing a moment to reflect on where you are in your life phys­i­cal­ly, emo­tion­al­ly and spir­i­tu­al­ly can encour­age self-dis­cov­ery and growth. Pho­tog­ra­phy is one way to doc­u­ment and con­nect your future self to this process. Pho­tos allow us to be mind­ful­ly present in the here and now, and for our future selves to be trans­port­ed back, when we want to reflect on and review expe­ri­ences. Review­ing old pho­tos pro­vides impor­tant visu­al mem­o­ry cues and allows us to reminisce.

Smart­phones have changed how we expe­ri­ence pho­tog­ra­phy, plac­ing the option of tak­ing a pho­to in our pock­et at any giv­en moment. This enables us to cap­ture images of unex­pect­ed mind­ful scenes. You may be out for your morn­ing walk and notice a shrub that has just start­ed flow­er­ing or a tiny lady­bug on a leaf. The best mind­ful pho­tographs are the ones that are not expect­ed. Resist the urge to edit or stage your pho­to. Allow­ing for what is there demon­strates a non-judge­men­tal, accept­ing approach that is cru­cial to mindfulness.

Have you heard the say­ing, You get more of what you focus on”? Why not focus inten­tion­al­ly on the inter­est­ing, remark­able, sim­ple or ordi­nary but beau­ti­ful things around you? All the while, incor­po­rat­ing the essen­tial ele­ments of mind­ful­ness: Inten­tion (choos­ing to cul­ti­vate aware­ness), Atten­tion (to the present moment, sen­sa­tions and thoughts) and Atti­tude (being kind, curi­ous and non-judgemental).

Enter­ing the competition

Hope­ful­ly you are now keen to sub­mit a pho­to (or two) to our Mind­ful Pho­tog­ra­phy Competition!

There are three VISA gift cards to be won – worth $200, $100 and $50 for first, sec­ond and third place. Short­list­ed pho­tos will be dis­played at our 2023 CRANAplus 40th Anniver­sary Con­fer­ence and pub­lished in CRANAplus Magazine.

Enter­ing is also an excel­lent oppor­tu­ni­ty to expe­ri­ence the ben­e­fits of mind­ful­ness and to feel calmer and more con­nect­ed. Go on. Your body and mind will thank you!

Vis­it crana​.org​.au/​2023​p​h​o​t​ocomp to enter the com­pe­ti­tion. Entries close at 5pm (AEST) 16 June 2023.

1) The win­ning entry to our 2018 com­pe­ti­tion from Anne Tour­nay, called Moon & Eagles Nest’.
2) Run­ner-up Kara Tem­ple­ton’s entry into the 2018 com­pe­ti­tion.
3) Run­ner-up Andrea Por­te­ous’ entry into the 2018 competition.

Ref­er­ences

  1. Diehl K, Zauber­man G. Cap­tur­ing life or miss­ing it: how mind­ful pho­to-tak­ing can affect expe­ri­ences. Cur­rent Opin­ion in Psy­chol­o­gy. 2022:101334.
  2. Clifton JD. Hap­py in a crum­my world: Impli­ca­tions of pri­mal world beliefs for increas­ing well­be­ing through pos­i­tive psy­chol­o­gy inter­ven­tions. The Jour­nal of Pos­i­tive Psy­chol­o­gy. 2020;15(5):691 – 5.