What is contemplative photography?

I have heard of it and liked the sound of it but didn’t know the concept. So I googled. There actually is a book The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes written by Michael Wood and Andy Karr. Wood is a commercial photographer who is into Buddhist meditation and adopted his experience into photography. The book explores “what it means to align eye, mind, and heart and see with fresh eyes.” I don’t have the book and I haven’t read it but I found an informative book review by Kim Manley Ort. Seems that master photographers like Alfred Stieglitz, Paul Strand and Edward Weston were practitioners of this art. In essence, contemplative photography is “fresh seeing” – capturing an ordinary moment and connecting it with our core creativity. Combining this creativity with “seeing clearly” results in a contemplative image. Here is an excerpt from the book: “Seeing things as they are is also accepting them as they are, which leads to appreciating them as they are. This is the way to equanimity and a sane and meaningful life. We may not always be able to get what we want and avoid what we don’t want, but by letting go of some of our ideas about these things, we can experience them fresh and lead a life with heart.” Now I have got to read this book!

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14 responses

  1. I am trying this on every mediocre photographer-wannabe picture I take of nature.. and my cat..

    November 16, 2012 at 3:15 am

    • Junsjazz

      Thank you Sarah for the visit! It just takes practice and a new way of “seeing” nature, and even your cat, to come up with fresh images. Keep on clicking!

      November 16, 2012 at 3:40 am

      • Haha no thankyous for the visit ! Made my day the other day seeing that you liked my posts (: and yes, had to walk the Lyn Canyon and the Capilano bridge at 10am-1pm .. I’ve really seen nature for the day.

        November 16, 2012 at 4:33 am

      • Junsjazz

        Good for you being able to take those nature walks…still, thanks!

        November 16, 2012 at 5:03 am

  2. Pingback: Different Perspective | Münchow's Creative Photo Blog

  3. Ha Ha! Just ordered the book from the library.

    November 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

    • Junsjazz

      Sorry for the late reply Jane! Good for you, you have the book! 🙂

      January 31, 2013 at 1:56 pm

  4. This is profound.

    December 6, 2012 at 1:30 am

    • Junsjazz

      Thanks Ron! sorry for the late reply. Regards!~JJ

      January 31, 2013 at 1:57 pm

      • That’s OK, it happens to me all the time.

        January 31, 2013 at 2:29 pm

  5. Wow. This really makes me think I must actually DO something about getting my camera working again instead of vaguely thinking about it.

    It also raises questions about seeing things as they really are. Looking at a photograph rarely produces the same effect on the soul as looking at the object that was in the photo. Which is more real?

    December 8, 2012 at 1:34 pm

    • Junsjazz

      Though a photograph may make you think, its how and what you feel about it when you see it that makes it real because, as a master photographer once said, the eye traffics in emotions not in thoughts. Thanks!

      December 8, 2012 at 1:44 pm

      • Deep stuff to ponder here.

        December 8, 2012 at 1:51 pm

      • Junsjazz

        Aww, just don’t forget to have fun and enjoy photography 🙂 …click first, contemplate later…have a great weekend!

        December 8, 2012 at 2:00 pm

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