Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tethered to our Beliefs...

   This image began as an "OMG" moment and ended in an interesting contemplative moment.  While I was in Eastport, Maine recently I noticed this young man repairing something on the top of a very tall mast.  Being somewhat daunted by heights myself, it was a stunning thing to watch.  Clearly, he had on a safety harness so a slip would not have spelled instant death but I was still awed by his skill and courage.

   After I made the rather hasty image, I didn't think much more about it until I was going over my files a few days later.  It made me pause...what was it about this sight that made me raise my lens?  It occurred to me, at first, that I was just gathering a tantalizing moment, like all tourists do but then I had one of those "Aha" epiphany's.  I realized that every moment, no matter how trivial or momentary, has the potential for contemplation.  There are no inconsequential, no meaningless images if one thinks about them enough. What attracts our attention has revelatory merit.

    Beliefs can work for us or against us.  If we pursue our contemplative photography with the belief that only certain kinds of images "count" then we will be hampered in our efforts to use photography to enhance our contemplative practice.  But if we believe, as I do sincerely believe, that every image has merit (and a message) then that belief will allow us to see our world with less prejudicial eyes and that must surely be a good thing.  This belief will give us our own safety harness in a manner of speaking.  We can't fall, or at least not very far.  It will give us, like this young man, the courage to take risks in our picture making.

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