Photo Explorations: A Girl’s Guide to Self-Discovery Through Photography, Writing and Drawing, by Cathy Lander-Goldberg. St. Louis, MO: CLG Photographics, Inc. ISBN: 978-0-692-52970-6, 2015, 59 pages, $13.95.
I love the way Photo Explorations encourages girls to use photography, writing, and art to explore themselves and the world around them.
Cathy Lander-Goldberg is a licensed clinical social worker and photographer who conducts workshops to help women and girls learn more about themselves through these artistic methods.
This activity book/journal reminds me a bit of the Anti-Coloring Book series. Through a series of prompts, Lander-Goldberg asks readers to take or find existing photographs of themselves; their families; their friends; and their homes, neighborhoods, and communities. She then asks questions that encourage the readers to write about the photos and what they mean.
For each section and each prompt, there is plenty of space on the page for the users to paste in photographs, make their own drawings, and write their responses.
Lander-Goldberg encourages readers not to worry about making the photos “perfect” or to judge how their hair or smile looks. She instead asks them to use photos that represent what is real for them.
There are also sections on strengths and accomplishments, worries and challenges, life balance, meaning in one’s life, and the “real me.” The book concludes with a list of resources for girls, as well as one for parents.
Photo Explorations can be used by girls on their own or in conversation with a parent. It can also be used as a workbook in schools or with a therapist to help girls explore themselves and their feelings on a deeper level.
Social workers who work with children will find this a useful resource, as the ideas for using photography, writing, and art can be helpful for people who have a hard time opening up in traditional “talk therapy.” Finally, although the book is for girls, I think many of the exercises can be meaningful for clients regardless of gender and can be adapted for use with adults.
Reviewed by Linda May Grobman, MSW, ACSW, LSW, publisher/editor of The New Social Worker.