Photography and the Art of Happiness

Yesterday I heard Yehoram Gaon, another one of our well-known performers, in his weekly radio talk-show. Among other things, he said something about happiness that really made me think, & I’d like to share his idea and my insight.

We all want happiness. We ask ourselves “Am I Happy?”, and we’re thinking about that Happiness with a capital H; that “and they lived happily ever after” kind of Happiness. A big, no – a colossal kind of existence in an euphoria, with no difficulties and no sadness.
Of course, we don’t find ourselves in that kind of a state of being. So we decide that we are far from the illusive happiness we seek.

But (so Yehoram told me in private ;-) , on the radio yesterday) –

That is not the place to look for happiness. In reality, happiness is the small, marvelous things of our day-to-day:
In the warmth of a truly loving hug;
In the tiny, wet kiss of our daughter (or granddaughter);
In the shortlived pastels of a beautiful sunset (or sunrise, or just an infinitely blue sky dappled with white clouds);
and in thousands of moments of grace, that we can cherish (and hopefully do).

And what do you know? – I have these aplenty!
I walk along a city street and, suddenly spying a crazy reflection, I smile to myself, happily.
How many times have I read something that caused a small, happy smile to appear? I was… happy!
Through the years, I have received compliments that I will never forget, along with the joy and pride I felt when I heard them.
Only just this morning, while driving my son to work (& never mind the ungodly hour, which I detest…) – I saw the pink lining of the clouds and the pastel shades of the sky… again I found myself smiling that small smile of… yes – happiness!
At noon we had the kids over, with all three gorgeous granddaughters – if that isn’t happiness, then what is?
The list goes on and on!

And now to the link between this and photography:
Obviously, the first thing that comes to mind is the hours and days of happiness I’ve found in outings that would never have happened if not for this activity; the sights, the feelings, the friendships.
Of course, there are all the times that I’ve looked with satisfaction at a photo I’d taken, happy with the result (sometimes even bubbling with joy at a surprisingly good one, that exceeded all expectations).
But it’s much, much more:
Photography has trained me to see; to notice detail and to be aware of beauty everywhere. The aura of sun around a child’s head, the light on a tender petal of a seemingly-plain flower, an interesting shadow, the play of light on silk, a lone bird on a wire in an empty sky. (Just look at my work a little, and you’ll see what I mean…) I don’t think I would have seen half of these, if not for my “photographer’s eye”.
And also: Photography has taught me to save and cherish these sights. If I have a camera with me, I can photograph them, and hope to commit them to a tangible form of memory. But if not – I’ve learned to “take a photo” with my eyes, enjoying and remembering the picture, internally.

Colors in a Vase of Flowers - fine art photograph by Smadar Barnea | E20-120504-3541

Surprising Colors in a Vase of Flowers – fine art photograph by Smadar Barnea | E20-120504-3541
…And here I thought I had come for a wine-tasting

So, if we measure our happiness by these moments of beauty and inner peace, I’d say that my photography has significantly increased the source of my happiness.
Today I’ve reached the conclusion that I am one happy person!
And you?
If you actively seek these exquisite moments of light and enlightenment, maybe you, too, will be surprised to reach a similar conclusion.

Enough for today.
Thanks for listening.
And till next time -

                      Best wishes, and -
                      Keep looking for the beauty and light that are everywhere!

                                                  - Smadar



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