Saturday, August 3, 2013

The A, B, C's of Contemplative Photography - C

C is for Contemplative (and also for compassion and connection and community and contentment and collect....)

   Well, that's pretty obvious!  What does it actually mean to be a "contemplative" photographer though?  I am always asked that.  It is still a somewhat unfamiliar term to most people.  But it really depends on who you ask!  I discussed the Miksang approach in a post which you can read here and my weekend retreat with Kim Manley Ort was based on this approach.  It was a wonderful experience for fine tuning my perceptual skills.

   In the blog post I compared the Miksang approach to contemplative photography to my personal approach which goes beyond mere perception and delves into the metaphoric implications of the photographic image.  This is really what interests me the most in the practice of contemplative photography.  The images open my mind to all sorts of revelatory possibilities.

   Contemplation is often associated with religious practice but this needn't be so.  To "contemplate" is to think deeply about something.  I also like the idea of cultivating (another good C word!) a contemplative and open-ended mind as opposed to the dualistic and judgmental mind. Here is a link to the Center for the Contemplative Mind in Society page of contemplative practices.  I've used their "tree" in my lectures and it gives a good overview of the diversity of the concept of contemplation.

   What it means to me to be a contemplative photographer is to use my images as a basis for my daily contemplative journaling.  I approach contemplative photography through a Taoist perspective.  I find so many connections and it expands my practice in so many ways. You can see my series on The Photographic Sage here and it may be helpful to review it.  For those who are new to this blog it is a good introduction to this pairing, photography and Taoist thought, which is the foundation of my approach to the notion of contemplative photography.

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