Impressive photography as a “junk food” for the brain / Prophylactic self-isolation series / Day 247th.

Stress levels in photography

So, what photography is done here?

Managers understand the importance of colors in marketing, but the photographs do so too.

These days you would not click on a recipe which is illustrated with a blurry picture or not illustrated at all!

These days you would not click on a blog post if it does not capture a mind by colors or sensational title.

These days Claude Monet (1) is not seen daily because it does not shout with colors.

A common human being has forgot how to feel bliss and calm happiness.

Nowadays happiness is associated with joyful mouths open and laughing while jumping high or shouting

People have gained dopamine induced reward-dependence because of saturated colors.

Of course, nicely done photos attract the eye, but should photographs misuse their skills on the cost of well-feeling of the consumers?

Of course, nicely done photos attract the eye, but should photographs misuse their skills?

Well, it is up to them. But should YOU, as a consumer, be hooked on it? Again, the choice is yours.

One could say it is a photography art:

Niki's curves
Niki’s curves by blende9comma6 (2)

But it is an art which triggers!


Blurry pictures are out of interest these days. The pictures of Claude Monet represent a classic art of the past, because nowadays life is all about triggering colors in photography and visual art.

I call it junk in photography.

I remember myself looking through the cook books of XX century. At best, there were a few inserts of color pages illustrating the dishes, but usually there was only a plain text or hand-drawn icons describing recipes. And that was enough for the delicious dishes to be created in thousands, no, millions of kitchens around the world!

What happens now is that people “eat” and “cook” solely by scrolling on Instagram for food recipes. The value of a “good recipe” is now measured by saturation of a photo.

recipe texts on the left and food recipes phots on the right
Food recipes in XX and XXI centuries (external links). On the left: Cream of Wheat with Dates. A 1916-Style School Lunch and 1916-1960 Vintage School Lunch Recipes and Menus by Sarah B on Dollop of History. On the right: Vegan food by veganlovinglife on Instagram (3)

The same goes with online art magazines, tourism blogs, and Nature websites: oversaturated pictures capture the eye much easier – and here you are hooked to get more dopamine of whatever source and origin.

In such a way, dopamine levels are always on duty and sap the vital forces out of the body. At the moment when you will call for your natural dopamine for learning or feeling happy – you may again return to internet with its saturated pictures, because the natural ability to feel well has been unconsciously lost.

At the end – only the picture matters but does not bring a real value, because scrolling is not equal to creating.

At the end – the picture itself does not bring a real value, because scrolling is not equal to creating

People repeat again and again they are under stress. Everyone wants to be less stressful, but the wish does not come true. It is because the wish is not enough.


As a consumer, a human being gets too much “junk food” not only through the physical food, but also through the food for mind: triggering images on online art magazines, tourism blogs, and Nature websites – everywhere is a battle to catch one’s attention.

But a consumer pays for it twice: 1) unnaturally elevating his/her dopamine levels and 2) wasting time just for scrolling the pages.

Colors for marketing

According to the scientific article “Impact of color on marketing” by Satyendra Singh (2006), about 62‐90 percent of the assessment is based on colors alone. Color influences feelings and mood – positively and negatively (4). Consumer responses to color have been studied for decades. I have found article dated from 1993, but probably even earlier dates are available (5).


There is all the science behind to attract customer’s attention though understanding of human’s senses and human’s nature.

What is dopamine

Dopamine is a hormone in the brain that has many functions. It impacts feelings like motivation, enthusiasm, learning ability, sadness, and even euphoria.

Balanced release of dopamine is important to feel well.

When dopamine is released in large amounts, it creates feelings of pleasure. This motivates to repeat a specific behavior, and therefore creates a “reward system” to get more from the same pleasure source.

On the contrary, low dopamine levels are linked to sadness, decreased enthusiasm and reduced motivation.

Natural sources of dopamine

According to  Erica Julson, MS (6), natural ways to boost dopamine are:

  • protein-rich food turkey, beef, eggs, dairy, soy and legumes;
  • elimination of saturated fats like animal fat, butter, full-fat dairy, palm oil and coconut oil from a diet;
  • probiotics,
  • velvet beans (which contain high levels of L-dopa, the precursor molecule to dopamine);
  • regular exercise;
  • getting enough sleep;
  • melodic music (should be 432 hz music?, – my note);
  • meditation;
  • sunlight;
  • supplements (always try to find ways to consume real food instead of supplementing yourself, – my note)

Note #1: I remember any time I over exercised (daily running, long distance walking, stretching) I felt slut for butter. There were days when I could ate up to 100-150 g of butter alone, cutting it slice by slice, without any other food. I felt like obsessed, but body called for butter. Now I understand it was again ME under body’s chemical reactions: too high doses of naturally-created dopamine by sports induced the need to lower it by eating saturated fats (which lower dopamine levels).

Note #2: I have an evidence that my lentil soup (7) causes bliss feeling – it is not only my own observation, but other people tell me the same: “This soup makes me feel like in heaven”.


Dopamine is a hormone which regulates brain functions. It is responsible for how we feel: motivated, sad, elevated, anxious, ready to learn, etc.

Feelings of pleasure are created when dopamine levels are high, while low dopamine levels are linked to sadness and reduced motivation.

Because we all want to feel good rather than bad, dopamine became addictive – it creates “reward system” in our brains – to get more of the same pleasure by repeating the same action (for example, watching colorful images)

There are natural ways to raise dopamine levels if they are low.

Reward dependence – too much is too much

Drugs of abuse (cocaine, amphetamine) increase the levels of dopamine in the brain.

Excessive internet video game play, excessive internet use, watching TW, excessive eating! (which provokes pleasure feeling), even excessive sex do the same (8).

As the activities or drugs mentioned above alter the levels of dopamine in the brain – it turns on the reward-dependent behavior. Next time the same amount of a trigger is not enough, the brain shouts for more and that is how the dependency is built.

That is how a person could be hooked on scrolling social media for hours or overeating just for the feeling of more pleasure without an obvious need. Pardon, a deeply hooked individual would make his/her best to explain and prove to everyone including him/her-self that his/her actions are reasonable and must do, that they are not based on dependency (a typical answer of hooked individuals).

BAD side effects of dopamine overdosing and disorder

Parkinson’s disease (as stressful life events may increase the risk), high libido, anxiety, difficulty sleeping, mania, stress, binge eating, depression, addiction and gambling.

Chronical exposure to dopamine therapy (while treating Parkinson’s disease) will eventually develop motor complications, including abnormal involuntary torso movements.

GOOD effects of dopamine elevated dose

Increased energy, high libido, improved ability to focus and learn.


The examples of the reward dependence of dopamine are overeating, high libido, anxiety, sleep disorders, mania, stress, gambling and depression.

“Junk photography” is one of the way to get hooked on daily overdose of dopamine.


  1. En Paysage dans l’île Saint-Martin, 1881 by Claude Monet, online source:
  2. Image “Niki’s curves” by blende9comma6, flickr photos:
  3. Food recipes in XX and XXI centuries (external links). On the left: Cream of Wheat with Dates. A 1916-Style School Lunch and 1916-1960 Vintage School Lunch Recipes and Menus by Sarah B on Dollop of History. On the right: Vegan food by veganlovinglife on Instagram
  4. Singh S. Impact of color on marketing. Management decision. 2006.
  5. Crowley AE. The two-dimensional impact of color on shopping. Mark Lett. 1993;4(1):59-69.
  6. 10 Best Ways to Increase Dopamine Levels Naturally by Erica Julson, MS on May 10, 2018; online source:
  7. Latest sketch of lentil soup could provoke a joyful whoop! – my recipe on this website!
  8. Yoshida M, Yokoo H, Mizoguchi K, Kawahara H, Tsuda A, Nishikawa T, et al. Eating and drinking cause increased dopamine release in the nucleus accumbens and ventral tegmental area in the rat: measurement by in vivo microdialysis. Neurosci Lett. 1992;139(1):73-6.

Lady with a speaker – photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Text © Dr. A. Palatronis /

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