There is so much beauty that passes by us daily, or rather that we pass it by, and I would like to bring that awareness back and make a daily practice of it by teaching Meditative Photography for Women.
You might think that making photos and practicing meditation might be unrelated since the photography is an external act and meditation leads inward.Let’s explore this. Teachers of meditation say to focus on your breath during mediation and bring your “monkey mind” back to center with the breath.Compelling photography is generally not a product of a hurried existence. It is born through a process that runs through our senses.I see the true value of photography in its simplicity, seeing what is beautiful because it is without blame or judgment: a chipped pot, peeling paint, a broken down car or discarded mattress with bulging springs.
“I like and relish the aesthetic challenge posed by the limitations of the ordinary…. It is easier for me to take ten good pictures in an airplane bathroom than in the gardens at Versailles.” — Sally Mann
Once we really get the message about what simply is ,via our eyes to our hearts, it will perhaps be easier to cope with life and its imperfections. Think about it. If we find a broken car in a field beautiful,or a dilapidated fence with a wild vine worthy of scouting and exploring, why not look at our lives through that “lens” as well? Perhaps in that way, it will be easier to take life’s journey and ride out the waves of challenges that are always waiting to confront us.I have always felt like real photography, the real art of it, is simple and directly outside of our own door. It is found on our bed sheets when the morning light falls upon on them, on our daily walks, while we cut an onion for a meal with a steely knife that catches light as it contacts a wooden cutting board. If one gets that, if one is moved by that, then one will excel with technology in a fancy studio.
When I started out, I was dutiful in seeking photography projects to sate my curiosity of the outdoors, the light, of people, and of objects. I made photos of boats in a Seattle marina, of homelessness around Seattle, and images of dried twigs peeking through the snow.
I still remember the curiosity I felt and had to document. I remember how deliberate I was with the process and how much passion I put into it, getting up early, and being excited about checking in with the world. Looking back, I call it my active meditation when I knew nothing nor wanted to know about meditation (oh the irony!). These were moments of pure perception, appreciation, connection between myself and everything external to me. That was truly a beautiful time and resulted in images that I still treasure. All those images were created in the immediate vicinity of where I lived and worked as a waitress.
Here are some images created over the years. They are simple. They brought me joy. They taught me about perseverance, being meticulous, being patient, trying again, and coming back to the same place, or subject, over and over. They belong to the formative years of my career as a portrait photographer. I have always valued that time with the camera, sometimes long hours chasing what made me stop, explore, ponder and finally push the button. It was meditative photography that moved me away from the fascination with the extraordinary and lead me back to a rediscovery of the ordinary.
I am returning to it, with the intent of teaching meditative photography to women who wish to become more attuned to the world around them – and take the time to see it. I wish photography will become a counterpoint to hectic lives, a time when what matters is a woman’s perception of the world- how they see it and how they capture it. It is a powerful feeling to make a photograph that stems from within, from your very own heart.
Eventually, it becomes a way of life.
“To take photographs,” wrote Henri Cartier-Bresson, “is to hold one’s breath when all faculties converge in the face of fleeing reality. … It is putting one’s head, one’s eyes and one’s heart on the same axis. … “
Art is opening ourselves to possibility.
Let’s explore your potential and your feelings through the lens of meditative photography.