As a young girl around the age of 9, Oprah Omeka would often walk through the Great Rift Valley in Kenya on her way back home from school, the area that is situated between her county and Nairobi was filled with zebras, lions and wilderness.
However, when she entered high school (around the age of 13) she noticed that development had taken place in that beautiful area which soon clouded the river water, and created a dirty and unorganized environment.
This development prompted her to want to make changes and not allow disorganization to destroy the beauty of the land she knew as a young child, which is why a few years later she took up studies in architecture.
Getting involved in photography
During her second year of university studies she took a vocational class in photography, that taught her the basics such as ISO, Shutter speed, and more. Her first experience with a camera involved her reading the manual out loud to her best friend, as he manually made all the adjustments to to the settings. The whole experience was very raw, and created those fundamental first steps in learning a technical skill.
As a young photographer she found that she was drawn mainly to black and white or monochromatic images of humans, especially focusing on emotions. She soon began to realize that she was so focused on using her photography to understand people because she was trying to figure out who she was.
The connection between photography and healing from depression
She soon after started going through her thoughts all of the literal thoughts that clouded her mind and writing down everything from colors, to how she formed friendships when she has social anxiety, to every last thought that clouded her mind and she wrote it all down and got it all on paper.
Oprah compares the mind to a house, where everything has a designated spot, and you just need to place it in order. Then once she had it in order she projected that into her photography, and began to photograph those humans that were closest to her life, such as her brother.
At once she started to turn all of those thoughts she wrote down and create art and deliver it. The act of creating gave her one thing to be excited to wake up for- every day to accomplish that one task was of utmost worth to her. That feeling of worth only compounded as others began to appreciate her art.
Top 5 tips for overcoming depression through photography
Oprah shares her top 3 tips for how to overcome depression through the creative process of photography.
- Try different techniques, be experimental and let your imagination run free
- Join a photographer community to find like minded people that you can build upon your creativity and achieve the ideas you have
- Share your work, when you share your work your brand reaches the public and people get to know your brand.
- Set a goal that helps you feel like you're moving forward. "Depression comes through the feeling of being stuck", so set a goal and create small steps for achieving that.
- Journal your creative thoughts to use for your photography.
The goal is to feel like every day you did 1 thing that was productive and that will move you out of that feeling of being stuck.
Oprah is always trying different techniques, and photographing different subjects such as her family members, or different architecture she finds beautiful. For Oprah, learning about photography also increases her awareness of beauty and will one day help her as an architect.
Article written by Dana Balsley
Community and Marketing Manager at Scopio