Saturday, September 7, 2013

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

H is for Hidden (and also for Habits of Mind, and Harbor, and Haven, and Heartfelt, and....)

"Something that is concealed or obscured."

   The contemplative photographer is always attempting to delve into the hidden meanings of what they photograph.  Sometimes it is hidden in plain sight and sometimes it takes a bit more thought and consideration.  Those who have a good imagination will find that they have no trouble recognizing these hidden truths.  You can read about the role of imagination in contemplative photography by clicking on this link.

    The rationalist, bound by the strictures of the physical world, often has difficulty with this.  Things are what they are and that's all that they are.  I prefer to take Minor White's approach and "photograph things not for what they are but for what else they are." 

   I will admit that this ability to perceive the hidden meaning of things is something that gets easier with all things do.  I also think it is the thing that people have the most difficulty with when they begin to practice photography as a contemplative practice. Fr. Richard Rohr, of the Center for Action and Contemplation, puts it so well:

It Is All About How You See

Meditation 26 of 53

I think the contemplative mind is the most absolute assault on the secular or rational worldview, because it really is a different mind—a very different point of view—that pays attention to different things.
   The mind that I call the “small self” or the “false self” reads everything in terms of personal advantage and short-term effort. “What’s in it for me?” “How will I look?” “How will I look good?” As long as you read reality from the reference point of the small self of “how I personally feel” or “what I need or want,” you cannot get very far. The lens never opens up.
   Thus, the great religions have taught that we need to change the seer much more than just telling people what to see—that is contemplation. It does not tell people what to see as much as how to see.
Adapted from CAC Foundation Set: Gospel Call to Compassionate Action
(Bias from the Bottom) and Contemplative Prayer
(CD, DVD, MP3)

1 comment:

kimmanleyort said...

Great quote on contemplation. I like your term "hidden in plain sight." Also, Merton's "hidden wholeness."