Images and Feelings

Image credit: Louie Favorite Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after having served in Iraq for seven months.

Image credit: Louie Favorite
Terri Gurrola is reunited with her daughter after having served in Iraq for seven months.

“Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.” ~ David Borenstein

Though we differ in the way we look at things and what we believe in, there is something we share: emotion. Human emotion is innate in all of us; it is something we are born with and something we die with. Happiness, sadness, love, hatred, worries and indifference – these are things that constantly occur in our daily lives.

As human beings we are all born with awareness. We can be aware of our environment, aware of our thoughts, emotions, and feelings. Yet self-awareness cannot be taken for granted. It can easily be lost. When emotions overwhelm, we can lose touch with our conscious awareness. So it’s important to recognize and manage our feelings. Most of us know that acknowledging our feelings is both healthy and a necessary step toward regaining our composure and clarifying our perspectives.

Image credit: Mark Pardew / Reuters A firefighter givrs water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday brush fires that burned across Victoria, Australia, in 2009.

Image credit: Mark Pardew / Reuters
A firefighter gives water to a koala during the devastating Black Saturday brush fires that burned across Victoria, Australia, in 2009.

We frequently say a “picture is worth a thousand words”, but sometimes they are worth even more. A photographers lens can capture scenes that take us into deep emotional journeys, evoking feelings that range from uplifting joy to utter sadness. The thought-provoking power of images often starts us on a journey of feelings that exceed “a thousand words” with ease. Images capture moments filled with raw emotion and powerful stories and they frequently raise questions about how we feel and what we can do. This, in turn, can prompt compassion and action, but that’s for another post.

Internationally acclaimed photographer Sandro Miller said, “If you don’t look at photography and begin to think and wonder, and be able to start an intelligent dialogue with someone about the work, then I guess I haven’t done my job. I want people to really be able to go deep in their hearts and begin to feel things.”

Photo credit: Getty Images Helen Fisher kisses the hearse carrying the body of her 20-yar-old cousin Private Douglas Halliday, as he and six other fallen soldiers are brought through the town of Wootton Bassett in England.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Helen Fisher kisses the hearse carrying the body of her 20-year-old cousin Private Douglas Halliday, as he and six other fallen soldiers are brought through the town of Wootton Bassett in England.

Perhaps it is a photograph or a traumatic experience that triggers your emotions. Self-awareness and reflection yield feelings, too. People who have good emotional health are aware of their thoughts and feelings. And they have learned healthy ways to cope with the stress and problems that are a normal part of life.

For you consideration, here are some thought-provoking questions. When answered, think about how they make you feel:

  • Why do you matter?
  • What will you not tolerate?
  • How have you been a role model to someone?
  • What makes you likable?
  • What are three life lessons you learned the hard way?
  • What makes you uncomfortable?
  • What fulfills you more than anything else?
Image credit: via hfcsd.org Jewish prisoners at the moment of their liberation from an internment camp "death train" near the Elbe in 1945.

Image credit: via hfcsd.org
Jewish prisoners at the moment of their liberation from an internment camp “death train” near the Elbe in 1945.

16 thoughts on “Images and Feelings

  1. Very thought provoking as always Eric! That final image as with the Wooton Bassett shot are so expressive so powerfully emotive!
    I am now reflecting on your questions posed.
    Hope that you are well my friend?
    Take care
    Bob

    • Brad, even though paintings, photos and written words generate feelings, the human presence, touch and ability to listen – can be just as powerful when dealing with/experiencing emotions. There are clearly photographers who are gifted at capturing those perfect moments. It sounds as though you have a possibility to consider!

  2. Great post Eric. I’ve been one that has had to make that long journey from my head to my heart. It hasn’t been easy, but I seem to be in a place now where I am quite comfortable and feel more whole in emotion and intellect. Loved the quote by Sandro Miller.

    • Having also traveled that journey, Don, I appreciate and applaud the space to which it’s brought you. Feeling whole in emotion is a beautiful (and enviable for many) place! Enjoy it.

      To the Sandro quote, I agree and think it pretty much captures a photographer’s essence or mission.

  3. “Feelings are not supposed to be logical. Dangerous is the man who has rationalized his emotions.” – GREAT quote. I was one who retreated to my head years ago so that I didn’t have to “feel my feelings”. Dry eyes for years. Today I know the heeling power of feeling those feelings – whatever e-motion is at the core of those feelings. Feel to heal. Great post, Eric.

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