Want an enjoyable pastime that sparks creativity, stimulates your brain, and creates good memories? Pick up a camera!

Photography can be as simple or as challenging as you want to make it, and whether you try a creative slant or get practical about recording the people and events in your life, you’ll find it can become a fascinating pastime with myriad benefits for your well-being.

For Jim Nook, a resident at Splendido, an all-inclusive community in Oro Valley for those 55 and better, photography has been a lifelong passion. “Retirement gave me a bit more time to spend on it, and over the past year—during the quiet months of the pandemic—I had the opportunity to concentrate and refine my photography,” he says.

Jim took some time to go back and examine photos he’d taken years ago, then consider how he might change or improve them now. “Like many things, photography is constantly evolving,” he says. “Photography is a combination of art and technology; I like that the technology part of photography is evolving all the time. Cameras have gotten to be very good—but it is still the person behind the camera that captures the moment.”

Jim is primarily interested in landscape photography. “I don’t have to go far: Splendido has plenty of opportunities for this right here,” he says. “In January the staff here held a photo challenge for residents. They invited us to submit a photo each day, based on a unique theme. Then they would share the day’s photos on our in-house TV channel for all to see. It was a good example of the type of opportunities they offer here to expand our minds and share with others.”

Picture-Perfect Brain Benefits

Like other creative pursuits, photography offers many benefits for mood and general well-being, along with the potential to improve several areas of brain health:

Cognition. Researchers have found that photography has “high-cognitive demand,” regularly stimulating the brain and providing long-term cognitive benefits. One study found that participants who used digital photography showed improvements in episodic memory and reasoning skills.

Mindfulness. Viewing the world with a photographer’s eye offers moments to slow down and focus on the present. There is even a meditative practice called mindfulness photography, which includes a focus on emotions, gratitude, and sharing photos with others.

Connection to others. Other research shows that photographers who share their work in person or online report improved self-care, interaction with a community, and the potential for reminiscence.

The benefit of connection was revealed by a British study where participants were asked to take a photo every day, then share it via social media—much like Splendido’s photo challenge. The act of connecting, as people reacted to photos and discussions were triggered, enhanced the positive feelings of the photographers as well as the community as a whole. And connecting with others can be good for our physical and emotional health.

While Jim shares his photos, he is less interested in showing them than he is in the art of photography. “I get a lot of enjoyment out of my own photos,” he says. “I don’t care so much about sharing them with the world. I just want to continue the journey to be a better photographer. That’s true for whatever one’s passion is. Creativity is something you continue to do your whole life.”

GET A TASTE OF SPLENDIDO

Learn more about Splendido and experience the talents of their Culinary team at a Mexican cooking demonstration and tasting. Join us for ceviche and margaritas—including a non-alcoholic choice—and get a little taste of Splendido’s all-inclusive lifestyle.

Join us at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesday, May 12. Space is limited and reservations are required.

To register, call (520) 762.4084 or email info@splendidotucson.com.

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