Saturday, July 27, 2013

The A, B, C's of Contemplative Photography: B

B is for Beholding (and also for beauty and breadcrumbs* and....)  (Remember, you can add your suggestions for "B", or any of the letters, by posting a comment and I will update the posts with your ideas. I've already updated "A" with the word Awe...most appropriate.)

   I love this word. Most people "look", artist's "see" but contemplative photographers "behold". You can read my post on the three here.

   The word is very old fashioned, almost biblical sounding.  There are many such words that have fallen out of favor in today's world of abbreviated verbiage, the kind that "texters" love to use. This one, at least for contemplative photographers, needs resurrecting.  The word "behold" is used in the imperative to especially call one's attention to something.  For me, it is an intense form of seeing.

   If our last letter, A is for Aware, is the first step for the contemplative photographer then beholding must surely be the second.  We are attracted to something, we become aware of it by paying attention to it and then we settle in and behold.  If awareness does not imply understanding, beholding acknowledges the beginning of understanding through thoughtful and intense regard.  Beholding takes time, it cannot be rushed and it has almost spiritual connotations.  I might go so far as to call it sacred seeing. (In Latin, this is called Visio Divina. You can visit a site which explains the concept and practice as it is employed by the Episcopal Church in promoting the concept of contemplative arts.)

    The art of beholding the world around you is not something you can do all the time but when you can, when you allow yourself the pleasure of just sitting with a landscape in an intimate and non-verbal conversation, you will be greatly rewarded whether you make photographs or not.

  [ I just discovered that Diane Walker, who's blog link is in the right side bar, has published a book on her ideas for The Contemplative Photographer's Alphabet Her images are always so beautiful and her writing illuminating...I ordered my copy and it came yesterday! I will be including some of her words in future posts.]

* Breadcrumbs: what a contemplative photographer gathers, in images, as they walk along.  Each image leads them on into and through the landscape.


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