Friday, 3 April 2015

Howard Gwynne - Finding Work-Life Balance Through Photography

Creative Doctors has attracted the attention of freelance journalist Gabe McCauley (click here to read more of Gabe's work) who has offered to write a series of short profiles of creative doctors for the blog. Today he profiles the indefatigable  Howard Gwynne who is one third of our organising committee – the one who does all the hard work!

Dr Howard Gwynne
 Dr Howard Gwynne is a medical practitioner who has had a complex, lengthy and at times stressful career as a GP psychotherapist, among many other things. Relatively recently, Dr Gwynne has found a creative outlet which allows him to keep his equilibrium in a job that can be overwhelming. Through his photographic works, Dr Gwynne is able to explore various emotional states of being which allows him to reflect on his patients and his own mental wellbeing.
“Expressing yourself through writing or music or art is an excellent way of bringing balance into your life,” says Dr Gwynne.
The Sydney-based psychotherapist was inspired to take up photography seriously when he found new techniques for taking photos.
“My inspiration came from discovering that I had a camera which could take multiple exposures. This means that I can use the camera to take one picture on top of another,” he said. “It’s a way of making pictures have a lot more feel and texture and a lot more emotion.”
“I have an interest in using the multiple exposures to look at things like mental illness. I have had a couple of pieces published in the Medical Journal of Australia which reflect mental illnesses… such as anxiety and depression,” he said.


Photo by Howard Gwynne
from the Banksia Leaves series
Dr Gwynne uses leaves as a recurring motif in many of his multiple-exposure works.
“I capture my own mental state through the leaves. I try to capture something about the vibrancy and the multiplicity of textures in the leaves,” he said.
While Dr Gwynne is now very proud of his works, he claims that early Creative Doctors’ exhibitions helped him overcome his fear of displaying his photographs.
 “It was such a positive experience for me to put my stuff up. I lost my fear of publicly exposing myself,” he said. “I felt very encouraged [by this experience] and soon after that I actually organised an exhibition for myself.”
Photo by Howard Gwynne
from the Railway Bridges series

Dr Gwynne believes that artistic expression can be a way of bringing balance into someone’s life - so much so that he prescribes creativity as a therapeutic activity for some of his patients.
“I do encourage people to draw pictures or use metaphors and stories to explore personal issues,” he said. “It can be a very useful way for people to understand their own life.”
“I have one person who is drawing a timeline of their life through pictures. That’s been a very useful way for him as a creative person to explore his own life.”




Photo by Howard Gwynne
from the People Play series





Creativity provides balance to Dr Gwynne’s patients’ lives and his own, but he also believes it is a good way for all doctors to explore personal issues. 

Click here to explore Howard's work for yourself



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