Saturday, August 31, 2013

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

G is for Glean (and also for Generate and Guide and Gather...)

To gather slowly...bit by bit.   

    You are probably familiar with the famous painting by Millet called the Gleaners.  Peasants were allowed into the harvested fields to "glean" or gather whatever shafts of wheat were left behind.  I think this is an apt metaphor for contemplative photographers.  After the casual photographers sweep a place clean of "worthy" images, we contemplatives are left to glean the abandoned fields for left behind and overlooked possibilities.  The gleaners must move slowly and look carefully to find these left over tidbits but they will find them.

     That is why it is beneficial, and perhaps crucial, to return again and again to a place.  Each time you return you will mine deeper and deeper levels of awareness and understanding.  On first look, we see what everyone else sees...what most are content to see, photograph and move on from.  Gleaners are photographers who are patient and persistent and always prepared to look more closely and ever deeper.  It's the kind of photographer I want to be.

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