Thursday, May 9, 2013

Eyes of the Heart - Book Review

Click here to purchase...
   I am a great fan of Christine Valters Paintner whose website  Abbey of the Arts is listed among my on-line resources for you to explore.  I have spoken about her work often on this blog.  Today I want to do a review of her latest book, Eyes of the Heart.  It is a wonderful exploration of contemplative photography...a text book for the seeking soul.

   This book combines an inward 
vision with an outward expression
and through a creative act helps us 
both discover and celebrate
our spiritual path.
-page 6

   Christine takes a balanced approach to her subject.  She offers many helpful suggestions for someone new to the idea of contemplative photography. Ideas about framing and composition and the basic elements of line, shape and color.  But this is not a "how to book" in the technical sense.  Rather, it is an exploration of the process of seeing and receiving images.

   What I find especially refreshing about Christine's book is how it draws each individual into the experience of contemplative never lectures, it makes you a part of the on-going process. One of the most important things I think I can teach is learning to make space to listen to your own deepest longings and begin to trust those more. -page 31  Hers is a gentle touch and a reassuring one.

   Another element of the book that I feel will be especially helpful for those new to the concept of contemplative photography is the inclusion at the end of each chapter of Reflection Questions.

  • Which colors seem to energize you, and which ones drain you? Do you notice any patterns?
  • If you life were a mosaic of different colored tiles, what elements would the different colors represent?
  • If you could describe the presence of God only in terms of color, which colors would be most significant? -page 88
    Through these questions, people can slowly digest and reflect on the materials covered in each chapter.  It slows the process down and allows each reader to personalize the information.  If each chapter ends with questions, it begins with statements.  As a passionate collector of wise and inspired words, I loved the diversity of the people quoted.  From Marcel Proust to St. Augustine, Christine dips into the well of wisdom that can inspire us all.  If there could be a textbook for Contemplative Photography 101, this would be it!

Contemplative practice requires that we shift our 
normal affinity for thinking, analyzing, and producing, 
and surrender ourselves to a different way of being
in the world, one that is more intuitive, more about
mystery and unfolding rather than planning.  We
follow the flow of life instead of trying to control
its direction.  We release our expectations of what
we think we should see, and then see what is 
actually there....Thomas Merton called it "the 
direct intuition of reality."  -page 133

   Eyes of the Heart is a wonderful book for the beginning contemplative photographer or one who has journeyed a bit further along the path. Neither will be disappointed.  On May 14th there will be a guest post here by Christine...don't miss it!




No comments: