How your camera keeps your brain healthy

Skull cap, kippa, yarmulke, Yehoshua Halevi, Jerusalem, Israel
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Your Digital Anti-Aging Device


No matter what your age there is a steep learning curve for photography and all of the digital media devices that have infiltrated our lives. The bad news is that constant upgrades and changes in technology create an ever-shifting target.


The very good news, however, is that there is substantial medical research documenting the benefits to brain health that result from engaging our minds with this type of complex learning. Studying and practicing photography, like learning a new language or even the game of bridge, stimulates sectors of the brain that can deteriorate if left inactive as we age, leading to memory loss and dementia.


This week’s photo features a backroom study of a textile merchant in Jerusalem’s Old City shuk. Technical considerations forced my brain to carefully construct this image, hopefully activating a few underused neurons in the process. The room was dimly lit by a single, bare, incandescent bulb, infusing the image with an unnatural, yellowish hue. Since I shoot in RAW format, I knew I’d have to tweak the color in Photoshop, using my eye-brain system to replicate the color based on my memory of the setting a few days earlier.


I did not have a tripod at my disposal, so I raised the ISO to 1600 and opened the aperture to f/4 and braced myself for a handheld exposure of 1/50th second. Without much depth to work with, I was careful to angle the camera in parallel with the slope of the heap of head coverings.


And yet, none of this left-brain thinking compared with what was necessary to discover the image in the first place.This shop is hidden down a side alley and this room is barely visible. Only upon opening a conversation with the shop owner did I receive an invitation to view this collection. Proof again that engaging our minds as well as our hearts is the surest path to artistic discovery.

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