Chapter 1, Task 1
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Task 6 – See the light

Task 6

See the light

The Camera Cure task 30

One of the great joys of photography is to study what the light is able to uncover. ‘Photography’ means ‘to write with light’. But what creates this light is also the contrast it has to the dark. Learning to read light is a matter of training. Many years of gaining knowledge about light is behind this beautiful and enigmatic photo that Målfrid took in Morocco. The light creates the mood and she has managed to capture it. The beauty of the strips of light, which are in contrast to the darkness, probably reflect Målfrid’s own state of mind. She is readily able to see the positive side of things.

Photographer Arno Rafael Minkkinen says, “What happens inside your head can happen inside a camera.” We can also turn this around and say, “What happens inside your camera, can happen inside your head.” Or put slightly differently – your state of mind influences the photos that you take just as much as the photos can affect your state of mind.
Marrakech, Morrocco, 2016. Photo: Målfrid Sand.


Focusing on the negative

When I worked in Angola for Doctors Without Borders in 1996, half of Kuito’s population were killed during the fighting. I had prepared myself to meet depressed people. But in the midst of all of the bullet holes and grenade craters, I witnessed more smiling and joy there than in any other place I have been, despite watching children die of malnutrition daily. The biggest shock did not hit me until I returned to Norway and was met with so many discontented faces – in the media, on the tram, everywhere I looked. How could this be?

This situation may be attributed to our inherited hunter/gatherer brains as well. Our ancestors constantly had to be on the lookout for life-threatening animals, neighboring tribes or drought. But in order to balance their difficult, unpredictable existence, they filled their days with activities that brought them joy. They understood that if being negative overtook them, then the tribe would be paralyzed when it was be necessary to act. People need joy in order to be able to deal with what is bleak.

We attract more of what we focus our energy and attention on. The more we strive to avoid feelings of anxiety, pain or other problems, the more these will increase. Reducing dwelling on what is negative is much more difficult than increasing a positive outlook on things. And by accepting what is negative about something within a larger context, we can actually manage to have it take up less space in our lives. Here is where the camera can help.

Do you easily focus on what is negative instead of seeing what is positive about a situation? What happens when you try to avoid such problems?

On a scale of 1 to 6, how relevant is this issue for you?



Find the light

We have to act like hunter/gatherers in tough times. They found joy. The Viking’s rune calendar is full of holidays. Christmas takes place during the darkest time of the year. And just when there is nothing to celebrate, it is the most important time of all to do it.

It is as if they understood that the most important means for dealing with hard times is a positive mindset. We look forward to what still remains of celebratory days way in advance, such as Christmas, Easter, birthdays, weddings, etc. Laughter and joy release pain-relieving endorphins. However, some effort is required for them to be released.

We have to be on the lookout for joy and glimmers of hope. There is always something positive to turn our eyes towards, including the location we are in right now. Objects, shapes, people…we can choose to see the magic around us or yawn, be bored with life and take everything for granted.

Today we are going to play with the light. See how the light changes when a cloud crosses the path of the sun, when the sun spreads through Persian blinds or through the leaves of a tree. Observe how the light behaves! Are you able to capture it?

We call it ‘soft light’ when the lighting conditions create a little shadow. That is when the border between the light and dark parts of the picture are soft. When it is cloudy, we have soft light. On the other hand, hard light creates harsh shadows and there is a big contrast between the lightest and darkest areas in a photo. See for yourself the big difference between light and shadow on a sunny day, and how the light is changed when a cloud appears in front of the sun. Then the light suddenly goes from being hard to soft.

Photo assignment:

Look for the light.
No matter what the subject is, just study how the light falls on things around you – and take photo
How useful was this task for you on a scale of 1 to 6?

BOOK SUGGESTION: Power of Positiv Thinking byNorman Vincent Peale 


The measure of mental health is the disposition to find good everywhere.

Ralph Waldo Emerson

A good laugh overcomes more difficulties and dissipates more dark clouds than any thing else.

Laura Ingalls Wilder

The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise.

Henry David Thoreau