I am at the beginning of a deep re-evaluation of my photography business. Central to this process is that my business offers self development and enquiry through photography, with Mindful Photography at its heart. This has encouraged me to reflect on why I have applied mindfulness to photography. Jon Kabat Zinn (Full Catastrophe Living), who has probably been one of the main catalysts for the growth in popularity of Mindfulness in the West, explains some of my thinking,
“….bringing Mindfulness to any activity transforms it into a kind of meditation. Mindfulness dramatically amplifies the probability that any activity in which your engaged will result in an expansion of your perspective and your understanding of who you are.”
Expanding your perspective
I like this a lot. “An expansion of your perspective” is a fabulous way of saying that you are totally immersed in the moment. Aware of what you are experiencing. Aware of the thinking and feelings frolicking in your mind and noticing them playing out in your body. Aware of the ground beneath you and the sky above.
As a photographer that would translate first and foremost to being completely tuned into the visual experience in front of you. The light, the colours, shapes, forms, patterns, textures and more could provide your anchor to the moment, just like the breath can in meditation.
Furthermore the relationship between this visual experience and creating an equivalent of it with your camera (a photograph) would provide the opportunity to practice mindfulness with your technical and compositional choices. This is a large subject; one I will be addressing later in the year through my online course Mindful Photography Foundation Skills. (Download the free eBook below, to get an insight into Mindful Photography and a regular newsletter from me, with news of all the forthcoming online courses.)
Understanding who you are
The final part of the sentence, “…..and your understanding of who you are,” opens the possibility of using photography as a vehicle for personal enquiry. This is something that interests me greatly. I will be creating resources throughout this year that will support you to investigate the events and circumstances you find difficult, through photography. These will form the basis of my online course, Mindful Photography for difficult times, which I hope to release before the end of 2020.
Henri Cartier Bresson provides us a glimpse of how this kind of personal enquiry is possible in his famous book ‘The Decisive Moment’ 1952
“I believe that, through the act of living, the discovery of oneself is made concurrently with the discovery of the world around us, but which can also be affected by us. A balance must be established between the two worlds – the one inside of us and the one outside of us. As a result of a constant reciprocal process, both these worlds come to form a single one. And it is this world that we must communicate.”
It is these two areas: expanding our perspective and understanding who we are, that will be threads running through my new Mindful Photography Online Courses and eBooks. It is going to be a fascinating journey I do hope that you will join me.
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