Last Friday I started the first week of eight delivering ‘Who am I now?’ to patients from Morriston Hospital Brain Injury Service. This is the second Mindful Photography Course I deliver and the students had all completed the first course with me last Autumn.
The first course’s aim was to encourage students to apply and develop mindfulness to photography. At the heart of this was the intention to use what we see as our anchor, much in the same way as when we meditate we use the breath. The course developed the students attention to the moment and shared many photography practices that develop mindfulness and inspire the creation of personal, resonant photographs.
This second course has a different focus. In this course we will be travelling through more challenging territory, particularly using photography to explore how we are living now. This intention is relevant to all of us who are facing the difficulties that manifest when we experience great change or significant loss. These experiences throw up all sorts of difficult thoughts and feelings and generate powerful fears.
Over the next 8 weeks we will be looking at four key areas:
- Becoming present – The first week is a re-tuning into how we can use photography to encourage us to be present in the moment. This includes the Four Stage Seeing Practice, introduced in the first course as well as some Mindful Photography practices to create some personal photographs about how we are today.
- Experiencing your thoughts and feelings – Over three weeks we will be looking at how we can use photography to illustrate and explore how we are feeling and what we are thinking. We will do this by considering how we behave and feel when difficulty manifests in our lives. We will explore how we can use abstract photographs that represent our feelings, incorporating the seven elements of visual design and the use of metaphors and symbols.
- How it is now – Weeks five and six use photography to consider how our life experience is now. This is challenging territory and includes a consideration of how we react to major change and loss, how we can allow ourselves to be vulnerable and how we can use gratitude to develop positivity for our life as it is now.
- Who are you now? – Adjusting to major loss and change means developing acceptance of who we are now and learning to love ourselves no matter what. For the final two weeks we will be exploring how mindfulness and photography can support this courageous work.
Each week I share some theory, both mindfulness and photography based and then everyone completes at least one mindful photography practice. These are photography activities that develop an attention to the moment and a mindful attitude to life.
Each of these mindful photography practices are an end in themselves. The practice being part of the process of developing mindfulness. However they also produce some photos which I will share each week
In our first week my intention was to gently re-introduce the students to mindful photography. I provided a simple overview of the course to come and then we got down to some experiential learning!
The first activity encourages the use of touch and sight to develop the ability to use our camera as an extension of ourselves. It’s called ‘Be the camera’ and it’s a form of guided meditation practice.
Then we followed a mindful photography practice called ‘Right Here. Right Now’. This practice challenged the students to produce 10 photos in 50 minutes, with no deleting and no viewscreen to compose or review the photos to bring them into the moment.
After the practice we all sat down and before being allowed to review the photos (‘Notice how you feel!’) we did a 5 minute silent meditation. Then we all reviewed our work and chose two photos each to share and discuss.
The sharing and discussion is a key part of the practice. Everybody is encouraged to share why they chose the photo and describe how the photo made them feel. And here they are below. Next week – experiencing your thoughts and feelings!
Find out more
This course is rich territory for people who are experiencing great change or loss. If you work with people who you think might benefit and you would like to know more please contact me.