I first heard the word ‘McMindfulness’ a few months back. It is being used to describe the increasingly popular application of the word mindful to other activities. For example: mindful eating, mindful walking, mindful anything. There is an element of sarcasm attached to the ‘Mc’, implying that everything is becoming mindful these days. Of course both this opinion and the McMindfulness term are bandied about in the media just to increase sales or website traffic.
What about Mindful Photography?
When I was developing my online course The Mindful Photographer I called upon a number of sources. Initially, I hoped that what I created would be an extension of my own meditation practice. I was aware of mindfulness from several Buddhist books aimed at the western reader and read of the interpretation that mindfulness, at its root, was about being present in the moment. One could be mindful about whatever one was doing: reading these words, washing the dishes or taking a photograph.
I was also aware of the secular re-interpretation of mindfulness as a practice for stress reduction (MBSR) and for depression (MBCT) and its adoption by organisations and businesses as a support for stressed workers.
I think it is fair to say that I have primarily developed the course as a personal reflection of the application of mindfulness through photography. Initially I was influenced by the practice of Contemplative Photography, but I felt that it did not go far enough to support the photographer who wanted to improve as a photographer as well as create mindfully.
I am also aware that mindfulness is most effective when supported by a whole life approach, such as the eightfold path. To say that it is a panacea for all the stress caused through work is rather simplistic (Mr Cameron). One does not have to become a Buddhist, but an exploration of what the eightfold path might look like reflected in one’s own life can only help to support a balanced and harmonious life.
I have recently refocussed my website to concentrate on the development of mindfulness through photography. This will manifest through a mindful blog and an updated course. The updated course will include new resources and activities that support a mindful approach to photography and life. It will also start an investigation into how photography can support personal enquiry into one’s own life.
The new website to support this is nearly finished. I have then set aside a few weeks to update the course materials and hope to launch everything in December 2015.
In the meantime the mindful blog is here and you’re reading it! To stay tuned you can sign up for the newsletter on the right of this post.