Photography as Meditation

Super Photo Magic School

Thinking of a photography as a means of meditation, a way to see the world before you, to really get a good look and pay attention to it, can improve your work and add sensory bounty to your life. Here's how I think about it…

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Photography can be a means to go deeper into everyday moments.
Instagram and our phones have taken over in this realm and that's fine, but equally fine is taking your camera "out for a walk." Whatever tool works for you! This can be an intentional practice where you tune in to your surroundings. You could try and photograph the way the leaves look in your neighborhood, the way your cup and its perfectly articulated coffee stains cast a shadow at your work desk, a stack of favorite books near the bedside or a loved one packing his lunch for school. These tiny, seemingly unimportant details can create a quiet body of work full of rich, personal texture and story. It can also be a good way to get out of the way you usually shoot. Change is good.

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Taking pictures can help you become a better observer.
If you are thinking in photographic terms, the curve of the zucchini in the bowl, the whisper of hair on your friend's cheek, the striped shirt thrown onto the floor can all become fascinating moments of shape and color. Everything seems to have potential when you turn your 'photo brain' on. I encourage you to contemplate the forms that surround us, and capture them with your camera. Stop and smell the roses, but shoot them as well!

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Try photographing an abstract emotion.
It's a challenge to think more emotive and illustrative, but I find it a restorative and creative endeavor to push through ruts. By formulating an idea such as a feeling or gesture and seeking out moments I believe represent that indefinable essence, things can get interesting. We can make quiet, unique images in this way and touch upon our link between abstract thought and visuals.

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What do you think about the practice of creating an image? Do you ever find the process meditative?

(Images: 1, 5 and 5 by Leela Cyd Ross, 2 Bethany Nauert, 3 by Marlous Snijder for Apartment Therapy)