My top 10 reasons to try mindful photography are outlined below. These may stimulate more questions for you than they answer. You can find all the answers to your questions in my eBooks
1) Learn how to see like a camera – A camera does not know the name of anything in its viewfinder. It sees light. You can learn to see the light, but you have to practice forgetting the name of things!
2) Use what you see as your anchor – In meditation the breath is often used as an anchor; the thing you return to when you notice sensations, thoughts or feelings playing out across your mind. In Mindful Photography you return to what you see.
3) Develop your photography skills and knowledge whilst remaining connected to the visual feast before you – My eBooks show you how a mindful approach to photographic skills development can support your intention to be a more creative photographer.
4) Express how you are feeling with a photograph – Photography can be used to explore and represent emotional experiences that are current or past. It can be literal, metaphorical or symbolic. Or it can just be a photo of something that resonates for you.
5) Use photography as a vehicle for self enquiry – The more that you practice mindfulness the more you discover about yourself. Photography can be used to explore your world and can act as the intermediary between your inner world and the outer one.
6) Cultivate your ability to let go of unwanted thoughts and feelings through mindful photography practices – Photography can support you to hold difficult thoughts and feelings gently until they dissolve. Practicing mindful photography whilst you feel great emotion can support you to process the difficulty.
7) Develop patience in your world through understanding and accepting your development as photographer – The journey to mastery in any skill may take 10,000 hours (Malcom Gladwell in Outliers), but there are mindful photography practices you can follow that support this development. These allow the quality of patience to rise unbidden as you pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise as you learn your craft.
8) Develop your ability to see the world as if for the first time – A beginner’s mind is a mindful attitude. It is one that you can apply to the practice of creating photographs. If you choose to return regularly to the same location, to spend time slowly exploring the visual feast available you may begin to see beauty which once eluded you. You can practice “giving the mundane its beautiful due” John Updike. This ability cultivated through photography can support you to look at your daily experience with fresh eyes.
9) Develop trust in your own feelings – If you are to create photographs that are personal, unique and authoritative then you must listen to your heart, as well as your head: learn to trust and follow your own intuitive guide. If you cultivate this skill it will begin to seep through to the rest of your world
10) Bring mindfulness into another aspect of your life – Mindfulness does not have to be limited to the meditation cushion, that is merely the training zone. As Jon Kabat-Zinn said, “Mindfulness applied to any activity turns it into a kind of meditation.” By applying and developing mindfulness to photography we expand our potential to be fully present in our life.