Through a Lens Brightly: March Update

Progress on my book has been slow this month, not least because I lost ten days of March to Covid. But I’m back on track now and coding the free-text responses to my survey on photography and mental health, in order to categorise them by themes. So far, two themes in particular are emerging very strongly. I’ll report more on these another time.

Photographically, this time of year is a delight for flora-lovers, with cherry blossom emerging everywhere in streets and parks. I love its delicacy and almost impossible fragility, the sunlight reflected in tiny dew drops on the pale veined petals, the way the shades of pink are different from tree to tree. The arrival of spring and the fact I can portray it creatively make me thankful to be alive.

I have to admit that I feel ambivalent about the word “gratitude”. Perhaps it reminds me of being admonished to “count my blessings and be grateful” when I was in the grip of depression. At the time my illness was something I couldn’t control, and the implication that I was self-absorbed, and had nothing to be depressed about, was hurtful and shaming.

Nevertheless, I’m aware that appreciating the wonders of life can help us to stay emotionally healthy. This is where I believe art, nature and music have an advantage: the ability to bypass all the rationalising and moralising about how fortunate we are, and to tap directly into our intuitive capacity for joy.

It doesn’t always work, of course. In difficult times, a beautiful spring morning can feel as bleak as any other day. And sometimes nothing can take away the pain. But the more I read of people’s experiences, the more amazing it is how many lives have been transformed by going out with a camera and observing the changing seasons in a new light.

Author: Catherine North

Catherine is an author living in Manchester, UK. Her debut novel about love and mental health, The Beauty of Broken Things, is available on Amazon.

2 thoughts on “Through a Lens Brightly: March Update”

  1. Hi Catherine. Your blossom photographs are absolutely beautiful. They really did fill my heart with the joys of Spring. I have been photographing blossoms and flowers since Spring 1973 to give pleasure to my wife’s mother who was disabled. For me, Spring is the most beautiful season of the year, both visually together with the joyous bird songs and the bright sunshine, like falling in love with the most beautiful woman in the universe which I still do every time I look at my gorgeous wife even after forty seven years of marriage. Looking at your wonderful blossom photographs has evoked those feelings again,which has set me up this morning for the rest of the day. Kind Regards and a Big Thank You, John

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi John, thank you so much for your lovely comment. I’m glad you liked the photos and they helped brighten your day. It is such a beautiful season, especially for us flower photographers! Thanks again for reading.


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