Photography is more than a hobby or profession. Sometimes, it can be a life-saver, both figuratively and literally. In this video, Marc Newton of The School of Photography hosts Maureen O’Sullivan-Day. She shares how photography helped her recover and become her old self again after she suffered a stroke.
Maureen had a stroke in January 2018. It affected her speech, her right side of the body, but also her memory and imagination. Physically, she recovered relatively fast, in a few months. However, she still had difficulty to visualize things and use her imagination. In addition, this made her suffer from anxiety during the recovery process.
Her counselor advised her to be kind to herself and try new hobbies to “exercise” her imagination. Maureen says that she had tried different techniques to recover, but nothing seemed to work. But then she got interested in photography. Admittedly, she had bought a camera for her 50th birthday, which was four years before the stroke. She always had it on Auto mode, but she was about to change that.
In June 2018, Maureen started attending a photography course. As a part of her homework, she was asked to look for patterns. According to her, this seemed to have triggered something in her mind: she would search for patterns and shapes, enjoying the world in a different, more creative way. With time, she also began to look “beyond the face,” thanks to portrait photography. And thanks to the photography course and the tasks she was performing, she gradually started looking at the world around her differently. Her creativity got awoken and her imagination got back to normal.
Looking for patterns made Maureen think creatively and trigger her to “think outside the box.” Consequently, her imaginative thinking got improved and she overcame the difficulties she had been facing. As Marc points out, anything creative might do the job in case of similar difficulties: painting, drawing, sculpting etc. However, being photographers, I believe that we can use what we do best to help us recover after an illness, a stroke, or simply help us to get through difficult times. So, if you know someone who might find this story helpful, share Maureen’s story with them.