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A Creative Guide to Exploring Your Life: Self-Reflection Using Photography, Art, and Writing 1st Edition

4.5 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-1843108924
ISBN-10: 1843108925
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Editorial Reviews

Review

Psychologist and professional photographers join to provide a unique guide to exploring and understanding your life in a book packed with exercises and examples pairing art with writing for self-discovery. Any one who would keep a journal or use writing as a catharsis for personal evolution will find this a fine survey. -- The Midwest Book Review

About the Author

Graham Gordon Ramsay is a professional freelance commercial and fine art photographer and teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His fine art images have appeared in galleries and private collections throughout the US and Europe, and his commercial images have appeared in publications such as Time Magazine, Atlantic Monthly, Science, and Figaro Magazine. Holly Barlow Sweet Ph.D. is a licensed psychologist and a lecturer at MIT. She maintains a private practice in the Boston area and has given numerous talks and workshops at both local and national levels on self-esteem enhancement, creativity and self-exploration, and gender roles and relationships. She is Co-Director of the Cambridge Center for Gender Relations and, in 2005, received the "Practitioner of the Year" award from the Society for the Psychological Study of Men and Masculinity, a division of the American Psychological Association.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Jessica Kingsley Pub; 1 edition (October 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1843108925
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843108924
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.4 x 9.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,094,928 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
As someone who has written about creativity, I often get sent how-to-be-creative books. They are typically cloying and empty, sticky with platitudes. This book rises impressively above that gummy mass. One reason is Graham Ramsay's multidisciplinary talent--besides his work as a photographer and author, he is a professional composer. This keeps his exercises from getting mired in a single approach; they are accessible to people without particular artistic skills. Holly Sweet ably provides a psychological gloss on the process that makes the book useful for readers whose goal is to contemplate their own lives. The combination makes the book useful not only for artists, but for anyone who is self-reflective and wants to step out of their usual way of thinking about their life. Students who are thinking about their place in the world will find this book a great aid. But I was struck by how older adults too, looking back over a lifetime of snapshots and memorabilia, can use this book's approach to make sense of their lifetime of experience.
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Format: Paperback
I am in no way exaggerating when I say that this book has improved the quality of my life.

MY PERSPECTIVE AS AN INDIVIDUAL
This books allows me the time to reflect on my life; the entire point is slowing down and considering my experiences. In the book, sometimes fun, sometimes tough, always worthwhile topics are broached from several perspective. And after the topics are covered, a series of exercises invites the reader in. Any person, no matter his label or status, can complete these exercises. And if you're already looking at this book and reading this review, you're likely the kind of person who will benefit widely from doing so!

MY PERSPECTIVE AS A STUDENT
I was fortunate to complete some of these exercises in college, and found that they allowed me an awareness of self that my other classes did not. Self-reflection had not been present in my education K-12, or otherwise in my college education. Immediately upon starting them, I felt myself thinking about topics I'd not yet broached, or simply had the courage to. This was part of my coming-of-age in a big, big way.

MY PERSPECTIVE AS A TEACHER
Having taught at a college-level for almost three years, I find that my experience as a student was not unique--that our classes (even English ones) are not generally encouraging of self-reflection. And yet it seems so important to understand ourselves in order to understand the world and how we fit into it. Having read and loved this book, I know that from now on I will find ways to work exercises into my lessons as an English teacher, and if I ever get the chance, to use it as the sole textbook for a course on self-reflection.

All in all, this is a beautiful book, and of my entire bookshelf, easily one of my Top 3.
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Format: Paperback
This is a fabulous book. As a former student of Holly and Graham, I've had the unique pleasure of "living" these lessons. I've found that the journey of self exploration is ongoing, and it's wonderful to have a hand-held guide . This book is valuable to individuals looking for a causal or a serious investment in self exploration. The exercises can be adapted for just about any scenario, with any age level, with any number of people (including one). Though geared towards college students and adults, I see great applications to work with middle school and high school students who are just beginning to discover the journey of self identity. It's a great tool for youth groups, seminars, classrooms, and counselor offices. I'm certain this book will remain at the front of my library.
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