Saturday, August 24, 2013

The A,B, C's of Contemplative Photography - F

F is for Filter (and also for Feeling and Focus and Frame and Faith and Fascinate and....) 
 In a recent post I spoke about the negative effects filters have on our ability to fully perceive the world around us. You can read that here.  But is there a positive contemplative connotation to the word?  The word, as a verb, can be defined as:

Pass (a liquid, gas, light, or sound) through a device to remove unwanted material.

   Viewed in that way we could say that a contemplative photographer filters out extraneous and superfluous ideas of the landscape and is left with the pure essence of place.  This is actually something we have to make a conscious effort to do because of our unconscious tendency to label things and places.  To "know" them before we see them.  This also happens when we read about a place we will visit.  We run the risk of seeing it the way those who wrote the articles saw it.  While some information about where we are visiting is helpful for putting it into context for us, if we don't guard against it, it just becomes another label.  We must employ our contemplative filter to remove these labels so we can really see the place with fresh eyes...with our eyes.

   All this year, as I re-visited places from my past, I had to pass the experience through this contemplative filter.  It isn't the place I saw way back when and I am not the person I was then either.  Seeing a familiar place as if you never saw it before is the reason to employ this filter.  Be sure it is in your camera bag!  When you use it effectively, it makes the experience so much more enriching.

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, 
for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”

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