Sunday 30 May 2010

A guest post by Danielle Raine on why everyone needs photographs in their home....

I am aware that in this time of recession / getting over recession we can dismiss good photographs as a luxury item and something we don't need. True, if it's a difference between a portrait and eating then it's obvious which one is the most important. However, photographs have an intrisic benefit towards our emotional well-being. They make us smile and remember a joyful experience.

At Jo Belfield Photography we aim to give you the best of both worlds - you can come and have a photoshoot for £35 with no obligation at all to buy. Under out "Archive for Life" policy we will store your digital images for life. We believe your photographs are your heritage, and if you want prints or framing next week, next month, in 5 years, 10 years or 50 years your images will be there to purchase. So even if money is tight and you can't afford the photographs now, at least don't put of capturing the precious moments which will otherwise fly by.

I recently won a copy of Housework Blues by Danielle Raine in a competition. Having avidly read the book from cover to cover I was pleased to note a section on photographs around the home. Read ahead to find out why Danielle values being surrounded by photographs as your loved ones as a tool to emotional well-being.

Danielle writes:

"A picture is worth
a thousand words.

I recently embarked upon a full-day of housework.
This is not something I do very often. Not because I don't enjoy a
clean and tidy home - I do, I love it. However, I find that Great Big
Cleaning Efforts mess with my head. There's a very real danger that
all the mindless domestic activity will result in a head-space of
frustration, despair or low-level fury. (Or on a bad day, all three.)
Admittedly there are far worse ordeals to be facing, but I don't think
I'm alone in occasionally feeling the strain of home and family
No, I am not the domestic type. Though I love being at home, (I
include pottering on my list of hobbies) and I cherish being around my
family, I am not a natural-born homemaker. For me, extended bouts of
cleaning and tidying can lead to serious housework blues.
So unsurprisingly, on the day in question, my mood was slipping as I
picked up the umpteenth abandoned sock. (For some reason, in my house
there will be, at all times, a lone sock at large, quite often where
you'd least expect it (on top of the TV, the fridge door handle...)
and virtually never where you would hope (the vicinity of a laundry
basket.) Resigned to my fate, I scooped up the offending footwear with
a weary sigh, mumbling darkly about it's owner. That's when I caught
sight of my laptop. The lid was open and had gone into screen-saving
mode, which displays my family photos at random. I was greeted by the
happy, smiling face of Sock Owner.
My bad mood vanished in an instant. I smiled and actually felt my
shoulders drop as I relaxed. This photographic reality check reminded
of what was truly important in my life: my family, the people I love -
not the work that comes with them. I immediately softened and forgave
the reckless sock-slinging, feeling far less aggrieved with my lot.
That single picture was a perfectly-timed reminder of why I have such
stuff to deal with - because I am blessed with a family. And even
though the endless laundry, cooking, cleaning, tidying etc... does
sometimes get me down, I wouldn't have it any other way. (Though I do
look forward to bare-feet weather...)

So, after experiencing the powerful role images can play in the
domestic trenches, I offer you the following chapter on the subject,
taken from my book; Housework Blues - A Survival Guide.

Catch the highlights
Pictures and photographs are powerful tools in obliterating feelings
of pointlessness.
The photographs we take and treasure tend to be of our life's
highlights. These are usually the good times; holidays, birthdays,
weddings, travels, achievements, etc. Making the effort to frame these
and display them all over your home can work wonders on your
emotional state and overall sense of well-being. On the days when
you feel your life is nothing but housework, catching a glimpse of a
photograph can lift your spirits and change your mood.
Being visual, photographs work instantly. They are
a fast-track connection to those happy moments,
express reminders of what life really is all about. But
in addition to being an effective antidote to feelings
of futility, they also serve to remind you who you are
making all this effort for and why. It's hard to dwell on
'what's the point...?' when faced with a fond memory
of your loved ones.
So fill your home with images of the times you've enjoyed and
the people you love. Place some in prominent positions, for regular
quick fixes, but also have some in more subtle places - coming across
a forgotten photograph during your domestic efforts can provoke a
much-needed smile.
Swap and change
To make the most of these effects, you'll need to move or update
your photos or pictures fairly regularly. The brain quickly gets used to
familiar sights and, in time, learns to ignore them. So the more often
you see an image, the less impact it has. It loses its charm. Simply
changing the positions of your photos will encourage you to notice
them again, so swap them around as you see fit.
Also, keep updating old pictures with new ones. People, particularly
children, change over time and though a little nostalgia is nice, avoid
living too much in the past. Try to keep a balance of old and new.
Living in, and appreciating, the present is undoubtedly the healthiest
of mental attitudes - so as wonderful new experiences occur in your
life, surround yourself with the photographic evidence.
Images of the future
You needn't limit yourself to images from the past or present. Why
not put up pictures of any places you'd like to go or things you'd like
to do? These can be cheering, inspiring and motivating. They can help
to lift your thoughts from the drudgery of everyday chores to fun
ideas of what life could have in store...beyond housework.
A common claim within success psychology is that images train the
subconscious mind, which is so powerful, it can actually guide you
towards whatever images it regularly receives! So, if you fancy a trip
to Paris - stick a picture of the Eiffel Tower on your fridge! Theories
abound about how this works, but even without scientific proof, if
picturing your dreams for the future makes you feel better about your
present situation, just enjoy the magic.
Worth the dusting
Perhaps you're thinking: more photographs equals more items to
dust. Technically you're right. However I believe that the benefits
vastly outweigh this fact. Would you rather dust ten items miserably,
or a dozen items with a smile? Whilst minimalism may be the easiest
decor to keep clean, a house should feel like a home, not just an
efficient shell. It is the personal items that make your home unique. In
fact - they are what make it home.

Danielle Raine
Author of Housework Blues - A Survival Guide

Make Peace with Housework Blog

You can find me on Twitter & Facebook: "

For more details on "Archive for Life" and artistic photography at Jo Belfield Photography, please contact or telephone Jo on 01625 429162.


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