It’s all in the Mind…ful Photography

Image source: Contributed

With mental health issues on the increase, our children need an outlet to express themselves and become more creative. Jackie Hillegers shares how mindful photography and art therapy is bringing a sense of purpose to young people in our community.

Photography has always been something I have been passionate about since I was a teenager and 35 years later, I still have that same passion, if not more. My first proper camera was a Canon film camera when I was 18 – and I started out taking photos of pets, kids, families and moved onto weddings. 

Back in the film day, we had to wait up to a week to get our photos printed and just hope the result would be what we imagined. There were 24 photos on each roll of film (36 if you were lucky) and you had to be really careful when you placed or removed the films from the back of the camera so they were not exposed to light. So much pressure! 

One of my early photography memories was sitting in a camera club meeting at the local hall, hidden up the back of the room so I didn’t have to present my photos. I would watch as everyone browsed the long wooden tables of neatly set-out and matted prints, oohing and ahhing over the sharpness of the prints. 

The photo with the depth of field in complete focus, and crisp, sharp edges was awarded the certificate for ‘photo of the month’. This was when I knew that my photography was different to everyone else’s – and in true introvert style I snuck out, never to return. I nearly gave up that day! 

The problem was that my photos were purposely blurred, they were angled, imaginative and border-line quirky – just the way I liked them. They were of the lone-weed wedged between two flawless flowers (because I felt sorry for it) or an abandoned rusty car in the middle of a paddock at sunset with the light pouring into its empty shell. 

I now realise my style was more in line with what we now call mindful photography. I was expressing my feelings, my emotions and just enjoying the process so much that every photo told a story of the beautifully unbeautiful. 

Fast-forward to today, and I couldn’t be happier to incorporate mindful photography into my holistic art therapy sessions, and to say it has worked is an understatement. It has opened a whole new world to young clients expressing themselves in a more creative manner. 

With suicide and mental health on the increase our teens need an outlet – they need to express themselves, become more creative and have a sense of purpose in their lives. Wanting to branch out to more teens struggling with mental health, I have created a range of Online Mindful Photography Courses. 

These Courses are a must for all children and teens to get them out in nature, exploring, talking, creating and releasing emotions. I am also working on a platform to help sell their work online through commission. Work must be of a high standard and students as young as eight-years-old are already coming up with great style and creativity. 

With two photography exhibitions already under our belt, thanks to the Bendigo Bank in Tewantin and Cooroy, I have realised that it is not just these talented students that benefit from their work being shown. The general public also take pleasure in the experience of viewing the photos and reading the meaning behind them. I am grateful I never gave up on my photography – I’ve come full-circle as I get to teach MY quirky, fun way to others. 

For more information and courses visit 

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