Thursday, April 11, 2013

Self Culture...

"Our personal growth can fuel our photography
and our photography can fuel our personal growth."

-Brooks Jensen

   At the very basis of the concept of contemplative photography is the notion, so wonderfully put in this quote by Lenswork editor, Brooks Jensen, that there is a subtle give and take between the image and the "imaginor" (photographer).  As we evolve our need to live a more contemplative life, our photographs will reflect that evolution and, in turn, these images will lead to greater self-understanding and realization.

   The 19th century Transcendentalists called this process "self culture".  It is a wholly individualized process.  In effect, it is a journey we all must make on our own.  Concord Transcendentalists, Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson, practiced self culture through their reading and writings.  Thoreau, more specifically, found the path to self-realization through his on-going study of the natural world.  I often fantasize about the kinds of photographs they would have made had that avenue of expression been open to them! On April 28th I will lead a group of photographers on a contemplative stroll.  We will have the opportunity to practice self culture in a place Thoreau himself walked and commented upon. It is a follow up to my talk last November at the Thoreau Farm and I look forward to our time to "practice what I preach"!

   As contemplative photographers, we all walk this spiral experience; first turning inward to the core of our being and then moving outward to manifest that being in our photographic images.  To the degree we our successful with either process is entirely dependent on our commitment to the entire journey.

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