Paul has been a pro photographer since 1984, and by 2004 he was Picture Editor at The Times. In 2011 he became a full-time landscape photographer, and is passionate about the power photography has to help people overcome anxiety, and to positively adjust their outlook on life.
Every second of the day we are presented with visual gifts, we just don’t notice them because of the demands on our time. Allowing yourself time to notice the beauty that surrounds you is a wonderful gift.
The key is to browse the place you are in, whether that’s the kitchen, garden, office, train or wonderful location; all have gifts to give. We tend to write much of our awareness off during the day as just a transit from place to place, rather than living in the moment and engaging with that time and making it special.
I find myself seeing pictures when I am queuing at the supermarket, waiting for pizza, sitting on the train, in towns and cities, as well as in the more classical locations. Everywhere has a possibility if we open our minds.
Noticing how beautiful or unique things are is the only key. It involves being in the present moment, not dwelling on things that have happened or may happen, appreciating what you are with, what is in front of you. Think about who made it, why it appeals to you.
Try not to think of it in terms of a photo, just enjoy the simple beauty presented. After a short time you may feel moved to photograph whatever has caught your eye. Allow yourself that time, just you and the subject, no distractions, just quiet, and be aware that something is happening between you and the object of your attention.
One piece of advice is to forget about the camera settings and the idea of correct exposure. The only thing to work towards is how the moment feels – leave the technical stuff aside for the enjoyment of the moment.
One of the reasons I use Fujifilm mirrorless cameras is that I see on the EVF exactly what I want the image to look and feel like as I press the button. This allows me the distance from the technical to stay connected to the subject.
Mental Health Awareness Week
Learn the craft of slow-shutter-speed photography
Can photography improve your mental health