Street Photography and your Mental Health (feat. Pete Wands)

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In this video I talk to street photographer and doctor, Pete Wands about his approach to capturing his home city of Edinburgh in Scotland. He also shares about the mental health benefits which street photography provides him as he finds his flow state when out making images.

#streetphotography #mentalhealth #petewands

24 Replies to “Street Photography and your Mental Health (feat. Pete Wands)”

  1. I think a lot of mental health issues today has to do with the normalization of such a thing, as if it’s ok and normal to feel certain ways. In fact I often run into people today saying they have this or that mental health problem, as if they are proud to be afflicted in such a way. Normalize the abnormal and it becomes normal.

    We also now live in a society where the truth is heavily suppressed to cater to the less intelligent, the weak and the mentally ill. That doesn’t help those with such issues, and it certainly doesn’t help society. Avoiding the realities of life only makes people likely to develop mental health problems. In fact, I see all mental illness simply as someone's way of thinking being in discordance with reality. Avoiding reality, for whatever reasons, is mental illness.

    The mass medicating of people with dangerous, destabilizing, and now debunked psychotropic drugs, like the ubiquitous anti-depressants, is also considered by many top psychiatrists as a major cause of anxiety and depression, the very things such a class of drugs was supposed to address. I have known people who started taking anti-depressants and the changes in their personalities and stability was frightening and heartbreaking to see. Here in America they are almost always implicated in mass shootings and suicides.

    As a senior who is on his own, disabled, and in poor health for many years, all I can say is just get on with life. Do what needs to be done **today** and move on. Don’t dwell on the past and don’t worry too much about the future, or at all. Just do what needs to be done in your life to improve it and keep it interesting. No one ever said life was supposed to be easy, nor should it be easy.

    I will close out this post with this wonderful quote.

    “If you are depressed you are living in the past.
    If you are anxious you are living in the future.
    If you are at peace you are living in the present.”

    ― Lao Tzu

  2. This is a great video, thanks Sean, in 2020 Photography saved my life, i dont really need to expand on it much more. But thank you for this video, i hope it inspires others who suffer.

  3. Great interview, lovely chap and excellent images. He’s so calm and collected, great character traits for his photography….and his job

  4. While watching this video I felt like I was talking, I have the same kinda life. I live in Jersey small island with a small town way smaller than him, but I can't go anywhere else without taking the ferry!
    Family status is different I have my kids during the weekend so I mainly shoot in the week, morning or night before or after work and sometimes at lunch time, I enjoy the peace of mind I have while walking around. It something I need to do.
    Speak about mental health or personal life, I live by myself I'm originally from France and I noticed that my street photography mainly show 1 person at the time which resonate with my personal life, like being alone.
    Anyway thank you very much Sean for this video if ever visit Jersey give me a shout I would love showing you the island and my work.
    Pete beautiful work I definitely going to have a proper look into your Instagram.

  5. Thank You, Sean for your continued production of enriching meaningful content

    So inspirational for us on our own photographic journeys ????

    Be Well, Sean

  6. Such a brilliant video – powerful, impactful, inspiring and motivational. Thanks a million for putting this together.

  7. We chatted briefly about this when I met you at your talk in London. Photography is the only thing that switches my ADHD brain off and allows me to totally immerse myself in something. I've been shooting 4 years and my mental health and well being have never been so good. Great videos as always Sean.

  8. I totally agree with every comment that I have read here. I use an expression that I read on another YT site – it is called "Shutter Therapy".

  9. OMW! What a fantastic video and guest. Just started following Pete on IG. The girl in the window!!!

  10. Sometimes I go out alone with my camera and just take photos of random things on my way. It is just so relaxing to just be lost in your own world and craft something with lights and human nature.
    Before this I was scared of photography. So much so I just left it. I used to say to others to never take my picture and never picked up a camera during those dark times. But right now I want to improve on that art.

  11. Thank you Sean and thanks to Pete for sharing and being vulnerable. Some great messages here! Geoff

  12. This was wonderful Sean. I think a lot of us can appreciate what Pete was saying, but he was able to so eloquently put it into words.

  13. Once again, Sean Tucker really speaks to me and others. I took up photography after having been hurt serving my country overseas as a foreign service officer and coming home to the U.S. where doctors warned my employers that the injury left me vulnerable to some types of activities. My employee then spent the next four years assigning me that type of work while ignoring my doctors’ warnings I would get hurt, my reports and my doctors’ reports that I was actually getting hurt. I couldn’t get other jobs with a disability and leaving that one would have left me homeless and without health insurance while the employer was fighting me over workers comp and claiming I had somehow done it to myself. And—following three surgeries and rehabilitation—I was left with a permanent disability and PTSD. I started doing photography more seriously at the urging of friends. I started doing wildlife/nature photography and street photography in particular because they were almost like meditation. Photography has been opening doors to me now. I got two offers to show in New York last week, for example. But it’s most important thing is that it really is a mental health booster.

  14. Sean, I used to hate you and think you were the worst. Now, I have had a total change of heart, and I think you are the best.

  15. Compelling interview, and finding it at the perfect time in my life. Really thankful you two made the video ❤️‍????

  16. Great final image, reminds me of Lowry. I work in mental health as a clinical psychologist. As with Pete, photography (and how it gets me out into places) is my way of decompressing. I can certainly see how this video will resonate with people, especially given the challenges currently here in the UK. I can also relate to the video in the sense of having a young family myself, you have to find those moments to go out, take images, and look after yourself.

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