The silhouette of a person standing on the edge of a dock, looking at the sea.

The importance of the arts in our everyday lives has become even more apparent after our time spent in lockdowns. In this series of blog posts Redeye hears from photographers who take pictures for the joy of it, in particular looking at how photography can improve our wellbeing and be beneficial for our mental health. If you would like to submit your work to this series please get in touch at chat@redeye.org.uk

Born in Canada, Carole Olaïzola moved to the UK in 2012 to find a new base for her travels. Now based in Kent, Carole uses photography to capture and communicate the feeling of a place and the beauty in the everyday. After years with a camera in hand, Carole is now working towards a professional practice in travel, landscape and lifestyle photography. The pandemic has reminded her of the joy of being a tourist in your own town, county or country. 

 

Do you find that photography has any impact on your wellbeing? 
Photography has a great impact on both my mental and physical wellbeing. It motivates me in a way that nothing else does. At the end of last year, after half-heartedly considering possible New Year's resolutions, I decided instead to challenge myself to taking a photo a day throughout 2022. I'd seen month-long challenges online in the past but ambitiously decided to give it a go for a full 365 days. While I can take hundreds of photos on an outing, I wanted to create some consistency in my practice while developing my skills. Focusing on the day’s photo has been great motivation on the days I'm feeling low or a little bit lazy. And, once I start, I quickly get into a flow, getting lost in the process and my subject matter. I end up in a pure state of mindfulness. 

Where do you find your inspiration?

Everywhere. Whether travelling or going about daily life, I’m inspired by country and city views, people, wildlife, architecture, flowers, the clouds, repetition, colour and more. Sometimes I’m quickly able to take a photo that matches the image in my mind’s eye, while other times I need to work at capturing what inspired me. 

Did the pandemic affect your creativity? And if so, how did you stay motivated to keep creating?

It’s mainly had a positive impact. Particularly when things were slowly reopening, I started looking at what was possible within the restrictions. I’d moved to Kent not long before the first lockdown and realised it was the perfect time to focus on photographing what’s on my doorstep and this island, instead of flying off to somewhere new. Britain is beautiful and I’ve seen so many lovely places despite not having left the country for two years.

What are your future plans for your photography?
I’m making more time for photography which currently has to fit in around my full-time work in social housing. I would love to work towards a professional practice and will continue to develop my style and skills as part of this. Joining the Redeye network, and their It's Your Business programme, has been great for inspiration, direction and networking.

What would you suggest can be done to better support mental health in the creative industries? 

I’m a Wellbeing Guide, aka Mental Health First Aider (MHFA), at my organisation and have noticed the pandemic has made it easier for people to talk about mental health, which is a positive outcome. Being kind to ourselves and others is really important. This may seem basic, but it’s easy to push ourselves and be unrealistic about timelines and expectations, especially if self-employed in a struggling economy. Community and collaboration are also essential. Creative pursuits can be quite solitary so establishing and promoting associations and networks, like Redeye, can be a great way to provide creatives with a support system. Creative organisations can also support the wellbeing of their employees and members by training their staff in MHFA and sharing links to mental health resources.  

 

See more from Carole by following her Instagram: @beyond44north

 

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