The Camera as an Armour
Having a camera in your hands can empower you in many different ways. You can capture unheard stories, spread information, and share your perception of the world. However, I decided to call it an armour, as in my specific case, filmmaking has helped significantly to shield myself from gut-wrenching anxiety that used to occur in various social settings. It's not easy to rationally define social anxiety; sudden, uncontrollable tightness in the chest and strong insecurity in social situations often come out of nowhere. The feeling mostly resembles a rush of adrenaline when you are on the stage, speaking publicly, or having a first date. However, those unexpected feelings hit randomly and suddenly – when you are walking down the street or even conversing with somebody you know. It can become a bit difficult, especially if being with people and hearing their stories is a source of fulfillment and creativity.
During one Summer in Norwich, I saved for my first camera Nikon D5600, which accompanied me on my explorations around the town. As I attempted to build my portfolio for an application to a Master's degree, I showed up in different places and asked various people to collaborate. Such artistic projects allowed me to listen and capture people’s stories with a less frequent rush of anxiety.
I soon concluded that the presence of a camera certainly provides a sense of safety. First of all, the camera in your hands gives you purpose. Social anxiety comes from a deep and uncontrollable feeling of uncertainty; however, the camera transforms you into somebody, who has a certain role. Secondly, it acts as this ‘other’ in the room, that allows you to gain back your focus when emotions overwhelm you. Managing a camera technically can become an expression of mindfulness, a practice that brings you from chaotic thoughts back to reality.
In short, a camera does a beautiful job in creating a state of presence, where an external world pleasantly dominates over the messy and often distorted inner dialogue.