|6:40 am - Pembroke, Maine|
At the core of my practice of contemplative photography is visual listening. It is the practice of preparing myself to engage with the landscape. It might be helpful to those who are new to the idea of using photography as a contemplative practice to review this concept of visual listening.
Although,initially, I want to quiet my mind to remove distractions and focus my attention, it is important to note that I am not trying to empty my mind of all thought. Besides being pretty nearly impossible to achieve, it is not, in fact, a desirable state for the contemplative photographer.
Visual Listening is an interactive form of mediation, not a passive one. After all, the word meditation comes from the Greek word medesthai, which means "to think about" or "to care for". It requires a focused but engaged mind.
|6:40 pm - Pembroke, Maine|
Visual listening demands that you look into the landscape and try to hear its message - not with your eyes and ears solely but with your eyes and ears linked through your heart. You must not only see the landscape but feel it as well.
You can use many methods to quiet your mind but once it is focused on what is there, directly in front of you, allow your mind to think about what you see and, probably more importantly, allow your heart to care about what you see.
When both the mind and the heart are brought into harmony, you will have reached what Alfred Stieglitz called: "the moment of equilibrium". Now you can begin to receive your images...