Picture This!

We are nearing the end of one the strangest, most challenging years I’ve ever experienced as an educator. I am tired. My body is tired. My brain is tired. My heart is tired. This time of year is rough in the best of times and it’s especially hard to find the energy to push through this year. Spring Break never feels long enough, and the old to-do list just keeps growing. It is more important than ever to make sure that you take time for yourself to recharge and refresh. I wrote about self-care in the fall if you want a general overview of why it’s important to take time for yourself but this month I want to highlight how you can take up an art practice to refresh your mind and spirit. (Click here to see that post).

Mindfulness photography is a “meditation practice where the visual world and observation are the focuses.” The practice is more concerned with observation and interpretation rather than equipment and technique so anyone can take part. This article by photographer and mindfulness advocate, Benjamin Stevens, outlines the benefits of such a practice. TLDR: Going outside and slowing down to take in the world around you is always good for you!

Supplies Needed

A camera and access to the outdoors. Seriously. That’s it.

The camera on your phone or tablet is fine. No need for fancy equipment. And there’s no need to travel to a park or lush landscape. It’s actually better to rediscover your own surroundings and find beauty in things you take for granted.

 Where Do I Start?

  1. First, choose a day and time that inspire you to enjoy the outdoors. If it’s too hot, too cold, too windy, etc. you won’t want to stay long enough to really take in your surroundings.
  2. Find a comfortable place and start observing the world around you. Look at your surroundings. Take time to really take in details. Notice the patterns in the bark of your favorite tree, the peeling paint on your deck chairs, the precise lines created by marching ants, flowers that have shed their petals. Once you find something that really fascinates you, start taking pictures.
  3. To better help you frame the shot, consider the Rule of Thirds. Break down your image into thirds, both vertically and horizontally, so that you have 9 parts. The theory is that if you place your subject or focal areas in the intersections or along the lines, your photo becomes more balanced and interesting. Studies have shown that our eyes tend to go to one of the intersection points rather than the center of the shot. Most cameras, including cell phones, display the grid automatically, so it’s easy to line up your photograph. In using the rule of thirds you force yourself to ask: what are the focal areas or points of interest AND where am I placing them?
  4. Start looking for new inspiration and repeat!

The great thing about this particular brand of self-care is that you can spend as little or as much time as you want. If you only have 5-10 minutes free, you can still take those 5-10 minutes for yourself and walk away refreshed and with a great photo. This is something that could easily be introduced into your classrooms, too, especially if you have access to a classroom set of tablets. Children need to engage in self-care, too. If you make time in your classroom for mindfulness, they will learn the importance of taking time for themselves.

If you’re thinking “I don’t have time frolic in the front yard, Brook. I have a mountain of papers to grade!” I hear you but it is imperative that you take time for yourself everyday, even if only five minutes. You’re too important to neglect! Remember, self-care isn’t selfish. It’s ESSENTIAL!



Youth Art Education Policy

Outside of tours, family days, and open house events, individuals who are not enrolled in a class are not allowed in WMA classrooms except by written permission of the Executive Director. Parents may not join children in the classroom during instruction times in order to ensure an atmosphere conductive to creativity. It is important to limit the number of adults to keep the focus on the kids, their learning, and to accommodate limited seating in the studio. Parents are welcome to stay in the museum during class but must remain outside of the classroom during instruction time.

Museum educators are experienced in creating positive learning environments for all ages and are required to go through a background check to ensure the safety of our students. Parents and guardians are encouraged to visit the studio at the end of class to see what their child has created. All docents and volunteers working with children are also required to go through background checks.

Thank you for understanding our policy and priority on the safety and well-being of participating students.

Refund Policy

The Wiregrass Museum of Art may cancel any class with insufficient enrollment; students will be notified and given a full refund. If a student withdraws at least 1 week before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for the full cost of the class. If a student withdraws 24 hours before the class begins, he/she will be refunded for half the cost of the class. There are no refunds after the start date of class, and membership fees are nonrefundable. Students are not enrolled until complete payment is received.

Terms and Conditions

The Wiregrass Museum of Art reserves the right to photograph and reproduce chosen works publication, publicity, and educational purposes. Participation in this exhibition shall be an agreement on the part of the artist to these conditions. The museum reserves the right to exclude works submitted without appropriate preparation (documentation, mounting hardware, suitable frame/mat, etc.), or which are damaged or incomplete. The museum is not responsible for the safekeeping of any works left in its care ninety (90) days after the close of the exhibition.

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Mask Policy

WMA asks that all campers ages 5 and up wear a mask during their museum visit, including classes and camps. If you don’t have a mask, we can provide one for you. Exceptions can be made for those with documented respiratory or sensory issues. We thank you for protecting your fellow visitors and our staff!

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