I am often asked, when I lecture on contemplative photography, if there is a religious connection to the practice. I always try to dispel the notion that contemplative photography is associated with any specific faith practice. As you can see, my influence is both Celtic Christianity and Taoism but I happily quote Buddhist and Sufi writers, along with the Christian ones. In fact, any writer on spirituality can find their way into my practice and this blog. Contemplative photography does have a decided spiritual bent by its very nature though.
Life is so full of meaning and
purpose, so full of beauty...beneath
its covering...that you find earth
but cloaks your heaven. Courage
then to claim it, that is all!
- Fra Giovanni
Lately it seems as if my connection in the landscape is with the humble bee! I seem to photograph them everywhere. This handsome specimen drew my attention on a walk around Fresh Pond Reservation in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I will be leading a contemplative stroll there this weekend and I was getting a feel for the place. I made two bee portraits on Star Island as well. As I have said numerous times, repetition brings revelation. The bees had a message for me to contemplate and I will pursue that line of thought in my journal this week.
There is meaning and purpose to everything you choose to photograph. With every image you are forging a connection with some element of the landscape. I love Fra Giovanni's idea that "earth but cloaks your heaven." There is a spiritual essence which is inherent in the landscape...it is the role of the contemplative photographer to gather it in through their camera work.
I will be developing this idea of the spiritual essence of landscape in future posts. It is a subject that is near and dear to my heart as I try to continually to forge connections with living landscape.