Art In Healthcare: Representational vs. Abstract

Evidence-Based Art

When choosing art for a healthcare setting, it is important to choose art that will have a positive impact on the experience of patients, visitors, and staff members.  Evidence-Based Art is a sub-domain of Evidence-Based Design; whereas Evidence-Based Design examines many aspects of design, including how lighting, shapes, or acoustics can impact visitors, Evidence-Based Art focuses specifically on how to choose artwork that will positively impact patients and other visitors to the space.

Representational vs. Abstract

One of the key findings of Evidence-Based Art research is that representational art is more appropriate for healthcare settings than abstract art.

This can be difficult for some to understand, since in the art world abstract art is often critically well-received.  The reason is fairly simple, however.  It’s not that there is anything inherently bad about abstract art, but rather that abstract art will tend to amplify whatever emotions a person is currently feeling.  Because it is open to a wide range of interpretation, one person might look at an abstract piece of art and find it fascinating and wonderful, while another may look at the same piece and find it disturbing.

This is one of the things that makes abstract art so great in certain contexts, however in the healthcare setting it is best avoided.  Patients who are distressed and family members who are tired and nervous will tend to have their negative emotions magnified by the presence of abstract art, leading to even greater stress and discomfort.

Learn More

If you would like to learn more about Evidence-Based Art, please click on the highlighted words anywhere in this post to visit the relevant page on my website.  There you will find a basic overview, as well as a downloadable PDF with citations to several of the major studies that have established best practices for art in healthcare.

You may also visit the Art For Healthcare gallery on my website, where you will find images that have been selected based on this research.

Finally, please add your support to the work I am doing to improve healthcare with my art by becoming a contributor to my Patreon campaign.

Why I’m Selling Art I Haven’t Created Yet

Some of you have already seen my somewhat zany idea about “Pre-selling” the art that I will create from my upcoming trip to the parks & monuments of the SW United States.  Perhaps you thought this was just a fun way to create some buzz.  Well, it serves that purpose as well, but in fact it’s something much bigger than that: it’s an opportunity for you – yes YOU – to play a tangible role in making my artwork better. 

Let me explain.

Before getting my Nikon D800, my primary camera was the Nikon D300.  When I switched up to the D800, many of my “DX” lenses (which are made for crop-sensor cameras like the D300), had to be replaced with bigger, better, more expensive lenses, as the old ones would not fill the frame on the D800.  I set about doing so as quickly as I could afford to, but I had to make choices, prioritizing some and letting others wait.

One of my favorite DX lenses was the Tokina 11-16mm f/2.8 ultra-wide zoom.  It’s just so wide and sharp and beautiful!  Here are just a few of the images I took with this lens on my D300:

Disagreeing With Meriwether

Disagreeing With Meriwether

All Along

All Along

In Time

In Time

Well, as it happens, this gem of a lens had a little secret up its sleeve.  Although made for DX cameras, it can be used on full-frame cameras at 16mm!  Naturally, this bumped it way down the list of priorities for replacement, and in fact I’ve managed to take several of my very favorite pictures using the Tokina 11-16mm on my full-frame D800, like this one:

Bridging Every Chasm

Bridging Every Chasm

But here’s the rub.  It works, but it’s not really the best lens for this use.  Stuck at 16mm, it’s not very flexible, and it’s also fairly muddy in the corners, where the manufacturers didn’t intend for anything to be recorded.

Zoomed crop of upper-left corner shows muddy focus.

Zoomed crop of upper-left corner shows muddy focus.

So as I prepare for this epic journey, I’ve set my sights on a lens that I’ve wanted for quite some time: the Nikkor 14-24mm f/2.8 ultrawide zoom.  It’s about 13% wider, sharp as a tack all the way to the edges, and has a much more flexible zoom range that will allow me to compose exactly the shots I want.

It’s a $2,000 lens (about $1,400 if I buy used), and I created the pre-sale with the specific intention of using the proceeds to buy this lens before I leave for my trip.

So you see, by buying in advance, you’ll not only be getting 35-50% off of my newest work before it’s even made, you will also be ensuring that the work I will create will be even better than it would be if you waited until after the trip to buy it.

So please, buy lots.  And thanks!

Video: Crowdfunding To Support Evidence-Based Art

Patreon is a new crowdfunding platform designed specifically for artists and other creatives.  It differs from the better known funding sites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo in that it is not designed to raise a single large sum of money for a one-off project.  Rather, it is designed to let artists gather patrons who will support them by pledging small “tips” or donations for each new creation that is posted by the artist.

I have created a Patreon campaign to support my work providing calming, stress-reducing art for healthcare settings, and I’m excited to show you the video that I created for the purpose:

I will be using funds from this campaign to create art that aligns with Evidence-Based Art research principles, and to promote programs that deliver this art to those who need it most, such as the Healing Art Cart.

If you or anyone you know have spent time in the hospital, please consider sharing this video with your network, and contributing to my campaign if you are able.

Parks & Monuments of the Southwest United States: Art Pre-Sale

As Intended

As Intended

In 2010 I had my first look at the Nevada desert.  I was visiting a friend who lived in Vegas, and I was struck by the incredible landscape, so different than my home in Oregon.

I was also struck by Vegas itself.  I found the place incomprehensible.  Call me romantic, but I couldn’t understand why anyone would choose to invest their time or energy into the disorienting chaos of the strip, when they could have been out looking at this.

In March I will be returning to the SW United States, on a photography trip with my uncle, after whom I was named.  We will be exploring several of the national parks and monuments in the SW, including Yosemite, Zion, Arches, Lake Powell, The Grand Canyon, and more.

Looking Forward

Looking Forward

For that trip, I am offering a unique opportunity to pre-purchase art that I will create at discounts of 35-50% off of the retail gallery prices.  Please click here to take advantage of this offer, and be sure to share with anyone you know who has an appreciation for the canyons and deserts in the southwest.

Releasing Resistance; Finding Potential

Releasing Resistance

Releasing Resistance

The road to success is long, especially when you’ve tied your own shoelaces together.

One of the things I like most about being a photographer is that it provides me with an avenue to being still and fully present wherever I am.  It’s a meditation of sorts.

Perhaps because of this, I tend to avoid well-traveled places and seek out quiet refuges where I may practice this artful form of meditation undisturbed.  But not long ago, I decided to visit Multnomah Falls – one of the most touristed spots within a hundred miles of Portland.  The meditation that I found there was of a different sort.

Finding Potential

Finding Potential

It was a cold November day, but even so the parking lot was more than half full.  I found a vantage point that I liked, and stood for almost two hours as people walked back and forth, or waved down from the bridge to have their picture taken by their fellows.  Four different people asked me to take their picture as I stood waiting for a chance to make the waterfall look alone.

I could easily have been annoyed by all of the people taking selfies in front of this grand waterfall that can as easily be “hiked” to in flip-flops or high heels as sturdy boots, but instead I chose to focus on that first part – this is a grand waterfall indeed.  Even people who are not comfortable on what I consider to be a “real hike” come to this place every day to appreciate it’s impressive elegance.

And so did I.  I became friends with this beautiful place as I stood there, choosing to get out of my own way and simply take in the awesome sight of this Oregon gem.

Please support my work creating beautiful, calming imagery for use in healthcare facilities and other settings where stress-reduction can have a meaningful impact on the quality of life.

A Quiet Teacher

Image

A Quiet Teacher

There is something steadfast about this mountain, making me feel as though I could gain a world of wisdom just by looking at it long enough.

This day was cold.  Still.  Inspiring.  As the pre-dawn chill crept in through my boots, I took a breath and pressed the shutter, glad to capture any part of the moment as the first rays landed pink on the side of Mt. Hood.

Learn more about the work I am doing to promote health and wellbeing through the art of photography by visiting my Patreon page.  You are invited to contribute if you find this work compelling.

Art For Healthcare: Water

When choosing art for a healthcare setting, it’s best to choose imagery that aligns with Evidence-Based Art research.  One of the elements known to improve medical outcomes by reducing stress is water.

Image

Studies have shown in particular that images of calm, slowly-moving water can have a significant stress-reducing effect on the viewer.  The research recommends avoiding dangerous-looking rapids or stormy seas, as these can sometimes increase anxiety rather than alleviating it.

Image

I’ve spent several years building up a collection of images specifically intended for use in healthcare settings.  If you visit the Art For Healthcare gallery on my website, you will see streams, lakes, waterfalls and other water featured prominently in many of the images.

Image

Please take a moment to learn more about the work I am doing to bring soothing art into healthcare settings, and to add your support through my Patreon page.

Finding The Spark

Image

Finding The Spark

What you see depends mostly on what you look for.

At the beginning of 2014 I set myself a goal to get up 52 times to see the sunrise.  I failed.  Badly.  I attribute this mostly to some ongoing health issues that have made it difficult for me to sleep well, but really the reason doesn’t matter.  I did manage to get just shy of halfway to my goal, in spite of my difficulty sleeping, and even that gave me some awesome opportunities to watch the world wake up.

As we begin 2015, I’m setting new goals, undeterred by my shortcomings in the last year.  Follow along, as I will be posting many more images right here as the year progresses.  You may support the work I am doing to create beautiful images that calm, soothe and heal by becoming a contributor on my Patreon page.

1% For The World

I am happy to finally announce something I’ve been pondering for some time: Beginning in 2015 my business (Manifest Photography) will be rolling out a “1% For The World” campaign, meaning that 1% of all profits will be donated to charity!

Image

Creating The Possible

This will include profits made from art sales, art rotation contracts, healing art cart contracts, commercial work, and even my brand new Patreon page (where you can support the work I’m doing to bring soothing imagery to those who need it most).

The first charity recipient will be Doctors Without Borders, as I feel it is still crucially important to support their front-line work in getting the Ebola crisis under control.  Other charities will be considered for future contributions – I encourage you to post your recommendations in the comments!

I am very excited to finally be implementing this program.  Please consider making your own contributions to Doctors Without Borders, and/or supporting the work I am doing by contributing through my Patreon page.

Happy New Year!