My top 10 reasons to embrace mindful photography are outlined below. These may stimulate more questions for you than they answer. Some of those will be answered at photography workshops later this year and next. Others will be explored in my forthcoming book. In the meantime I am happy to answer any questions you may have, just use the contact page.
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 most forget the name of things!
2) Use what you see as your anchor – In meditation the breath is often used as an anchor; the thing we return to when we notice sensations, thoughts or feelings playing out across our mind. In Mindful Photography we return to the seeing.
3) Develop your photography skills and knowledge whilst remaining connected to the visual feast before you -Find out how here
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. Workshop coming in September.
5) Use photography as a vehicle for self enquiry – The more we practice mindfulness the more we discover about ourselves. Photography can be used to explore our world and can act as the intermediary between our inner world and the outer one.
6) Cultivate your ability to let go of unwanted thoughts and feelings through mindful photography practices – Autumn workshop coming!
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 we can follow that support this development. These allow the quality of patience to rise unbidden as we pay attention to the thoughts and feelings that arise as we learn our 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 we can apply to the practice of creating photographs. If we choose to return regularly to the same location, to spend time slowly exploring the visual feast available we may begin to see beauty which once eluded us. We can practice “giving the mundane its beautiful due” John Updike. This ability cultivated through photography can support us to look at our 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: to 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.