Contemplative Photography 11

28 05 2012

Here is another post in my Miksang and Contemplative Photography series.

This post outlines the process that I follow when approaching Miksang.  I don’t have any official training but I outline here what I’ve learned as I go out and shoot with ‘a good eye, an open heart and an open mind’.

Try it for yourself.  It’s interesting (but not easy) to leave your inner critic behind and photograph whatever captures you, even when you’re not sure why.  That is easier said that done and I spend a lot of time ignoring the nagging, but still aware that it is there.

I carry my camera with me each day and I usually take a walk at lunchtime, mostly just to get me out of the office for a while. I don’t go out deciding to do a photo shoot, if it comes, it comes. I just walk, feel centred, wander and look. I enjoy walking meditation rather than being still. I clear out judgement and expectation and just see freshly and clearly. Think about your trip to work each morning. Whether it is a drive, a train trip or a walk to your home office, there are things you pass every day without even noticing them.

The practice of Miksang helps you notice all around you and see things, without judgement.  Most times, something will catch my eye, capture me, fascinate, surprise, delight or jar me. It demands a reaction, it stirs an emotion. I stop and often say “Whoa! Look at THAT”.  It attracts or repels me.  I get the feeling but I hold all judgement about whether it is a ‘good’ subject or a ‘bad’ subject, whether the light or angle or distance is ‘right’. For some reason, it has captured and connected with me, if not, I move along. Later I try to look deeply to see what it was that caught me.

Was it the shape? colour? texture? shadow? light? contrast? the grouping? the arrangement? the odd number? the symmetry or asymmetry? the negative or empty space? the angle? incongruity? context?

I don’t try to find a ‘better’ angle, I don’t zoom, I don’t crop, edit, straighten or do any post production. I shoot what I see. What you see is what I saw and what captured me. Hopefully the shot shows you things that capture my eye, my heart, my mind (when it is free from clutter and judgement).  So, that’s where I am on my journey into Miksang. I hope you give it a go as well.

If you’d like to find out more about Miksang and the art of Contemplative Photography, check out these links:

Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography
Miksang Society for Contemplative Photography

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8 responses

28 05 2012
dadirri7

fantastic shots louise, and you describe it so well, you are an inspiration!

28 05 2012
Louise

Wow! Thanks Christine, that’s lovely 🙂

28 05 2012
Lynne Ayers

I really enjoy these photos. You’ve got my husband interested too.

29 05 2012
Heart To Harp

You are describing much of my process of taking photos. I had no idea that there was a name for it. This is way cool, knowing that there are other people who approach finding a “subject” in the same way. And the fun part for me really is figuring how and why that moment in time and space grabbed me and demanded that I photograph it. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts on contemplative photography and checking out your links.
Meanwhile, you might like exploring the link on my blog to Catherine Anderson, who is a photographer who uses photography as a spiritual practice. Click on Listening for the Whisperings if you get a chance.

30 05 2012
Louise

I’m glad you like the Contemplative Photography series. I ‘discovered’ there was a name for what I’d been doing intuitively and it’s kind of cool that it appeals to so many people. For a while there I felt like I had a strange way of seeing the world, but I’m enjoying ‘meeting’ others who find this way of photography fascinating too. Thanks for the link – I’ll check it out!

16 06 2012
Crowing Crone Joss

something ‘new’ to discover and learn about and realize it’s what I do! love it.

30 12 2012
Angeline M

I just started reading The Practice of Contemplative Photography by Andy Karr and Michael Wood. Great book. I will have to look into Miksang…thank you, I keep learning as I go.

6 01 2013
westseventhfreelance

Thank you for posting and sharing the information about contemplative photography…

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