“If your mind is empty, it is always ready for anything, it is open to everything. In the beginner’s mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert’s mind there are few. ” ― Shunryu Suzuki
I just finished a book called “10% happier”, which preached the benefits of meditation and mindfulness in everyday life.
There is a lot of pain and anxiety from everyday life, and one of the main causes of that is longing for something. Wanting something that we don’t have. By focusing too much on the future and the past.
(All photographs in this article provided by Rinzi Ruiz)
My good friend Nicholas Susatyo recently recommended a book to me: “Zen in the Art of Archery.” In-fact, it was the book that Henri Cartier-Bresson said had the deepest influence in his photography. I have been meaning to read it for a while, so on my flight to Philly I decided to give it a go.
The book is written by Eugen Herrigel, a German philosophy teacher who went to Japan for several years and learned the art of archery (while teaching philosophy at a Japanese university). He heard about the art of archery, and was fascinated with the zen philosophy which was embedded in the art.
(“Whisper”. Mumbai, 2011)
When it comes to street photography, it is easy to get caught-up in the hype of new cameras, spending too much time on blogs, and not enough time out shooting. I think one of the most difficult things in street photography is to find enough time to shoot and being able to also relax when out on the streets.
I suffer lack of focus, obsession about gear, and also not enough time out shooting on the streets. It is a battle I constantly fight with myself to change. If you ever felt that you have had difficulty finding focus in street photography, hopefully this advice I will share will help you. Also included in the article is some of my unpublished work from 2011, hope you enjoy!
Street photography is one of the biggest passions in my life. I spend a large amount of time either shooting on the streets, blogging about street photography, tweeting about street photography, and talking/thinking about street photography. But why do I love it so much and why does it bring me a lot of happiness?
The answer is “Flow“–as psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it. I’m sure all of you guys have experienced this when shooting on the streets. You go out and take photos, and become totally immersed in the experience and forget a sense of time or space. You can be out for hours shooting, and don’t even realize that time is passing by.
Whenever I am on the streets and shooting, I feel pure euphoria. I am out there in almost a zen-like state–simply wandering wherever I want to go, while capturing the beauty in the mundane. I meet interesting people, and I experience fascinating and new places. There is no feeling quite like it.
However the problem that many street photographers (myself included) face is that we lose sight of what really makes us happy (shooting photos) and we chase other things such as fame, wealth, or prestige. Would making a few bucks out of our photographs really make us happier? Will the $6900 Leica M9 make us happier? If we become as famous as Henri Cartier-Bresson–will that make us happier? I beg to disagree.
After watching the TED talk by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi on flow and his theory on the matter– I am convinced that the true happiness I will gain out of street photography is quite simple and in front of me. Shooting in the streets.
For those of you who are interested in watching the TED video that inspired me, take 20 minutes out of your day to truly change your perception about photography, happiness, and life. And if you are really interested in the subject, purchase his book on Amazon titled Flow: The Classic Work on How to Achieve Happiness.
So my question to you guys is that do you experience this zen-like feeling of “flow” when you are shooting on the streets as well? Leave a comment below and let us know what your experiences are like!