Saturday, August 10, 2013

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

D is for Discernment (and also for Discriminating and Dualistic Thinking and Discovery and Delve...)

 "The act or process of exhibiting keen insight and good judgment."

   That definition offers the two sides of Discernment...insight and judgement.  As a contemplative photographer we try to nurture the former while at the same time shying away from the latter.  The insightful regard for the landscape is a crucial skill for the contemplative photographer.  However, to judge is to limit perception and this is something to avoid at all costs.

    The exercise of looking for the alphabet in the details of the village of Monhegan was a great way to hone my discriminating skills. So is photographic beach combing.  (You can read about that here.)  Training your eye to observe the small details of a landscape opens up a whole new world...a world of the intimate viewpoint.

   Kim Manley Ort has written a lovely essay on discernment and you can read it  here. It explains quite succinctly the moment, after the initial flash of inspiration, where the photographers discriminating process begins.  Another insightful essay on judgement and discernment is from Diane Walker's blog, Wooden Hue.  You can read that one here.

   For me, discernment is an internal shift or movement that subtly realigns the perception of a place or thing.  It can also be a whole intuitive process that occurs without conscious direction.  The more I practice discernment in the field, the more adept I am at creating images that go beyond mere description and that is always my goal.



No comments: