A realization: photography in itself is meditation.
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I cannot sit down and meditate
I don’t know about you, but I cannot sit down and ‘meditate’ in the traditional sense. I get too bored and restless.
To me, the purpose of meditation is to become centered in the present moment. To feel the fullest extent of joy of being alive, right now, in the present moment — without fear of the future, or regrets from the past.
When I am in the zen flow of making photos, I am 100% concentrated on making photos — nothing else. I lose a sense of ego, a sense of self. My mind goes blank. My mind, body, and soul, become integrated with only my vision and my camera. I make photos — and use all my mental and physical energy to make the photos.
My zen zone.
When are you most at peace?
I have found many other photographers feel the similar sensation. They feel most at peace, and most joyful when making photos.
For myself, I actually enjoy making photos more than looking at photos, or more than reviewing my photos. I enjoy making photos — because it is fun, easy, and yet challenging at the same time. Easy in the sense that the photos are instantaneous, but challenging at the same time that you must compose the frame well. As Sergio Larrain once said, to organize the elements inside the frame effectively is the key.
Shoot with your mind, body, heart, and soul — all at once.
Henri Cartier-Bresson also once said that photography was a combination of aligning your mind, body, heart, and soul into one.
If this ain’t meditation, I have no idea what is.
Photography meditation assignments
- Walk around your home, and only shoot objects inside your home. This will teach you that there is so much beauty inside something as simple as your home. You can find true joy and happiness in your present life, right now, with the home you (already) have. You don’t need to travel to somewhere exotic or foreign to make good photos.
- Walk around on the streets for an hour, and turn off your phone. 100% off. Don’t just silence it. Walk, slowly — walk 25% slower than you normally do. Feel the sensation of the pavement pushing against your feet, and make photos with a smile, slowly, and with joy and appreciation.
- Go on a hike, and bring your camera along. Shoot nature photos. Shoot trees, bushes, shrubs, insects, or landscapes. Don’t seek to make ‘good’ nature/landscape pictures — rather, use your camera as a meditation on the beauty of the natural world around you.
ZEN KYOTO PHOTO RETREAT 2018
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ZEN PHOTOGRAPHY >
Less is better:
- The Zen of Street Photography
- Zen Photography
- Walking Meditation in Street Photography
- How to Be a Zen Street Photographer
- The Less You Have, the More You Have
- Prune Excess
- Prune in Order to Grow
- Zen in the Art of Street Photography
- The 7 Aesthetics of Zen Art For Photographers
- 15 (More) Lessons Taoism Has Taught Me About Street Photography
- How to Find Tranquility in Your Photography
- How to Find Zen in Street Photography
- Why Less is More in Street Photography (and Life)
- Why You Should Shoot with One Camera and One Lens
- 5 Essentialist Tips in Street Photography
- 10 Principles of Good Street Photography
- Deep Focus
- Follow Your Intuition
- Less, But Better
- Seek Emptiness
- Wonderment & Awe
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