There’s a type of photography called contemplative photography that I first learned about from Kim Manley Ort that makes me feel as though I’ve come home to myself.
Kim says this meditative form of photography is “about being present and open to life as it is, without judgment. It’s about being open to what the world offers up to me rather than looking for a particular shot.”
Today, for the Weekly Photo Challenge, I am offering such an image. In December I participated in a month focusing on the photography of simplicity, and many days I chose to deliberately capture images following the principles of this type of photography.
Contemplative photography has been described as “a method for seeing and photographing the world in fresh ways, to reveal richness and beauty that is normally hidden from view. Instead of emphasizing subject matter or the technical aspects of photography, the contemplative approach teaches you to see clearly, and make images based on fresh perceptions.”
If any of this intrigues you, I urge you to have a look at the site Seeing Fresh: The Practice of Contemplative Photography. You can contribute to and receive inspiration from the amazing galleries there. And check out Kim’s site too to learn more.
When you see such an image, it is startling in its purity. For those who are used to seeing heavily processed and manipulated images, such an image can seem almost too simple. But really what it is is fresh and new and untainted.
These images suggest to me what is possible with photography when we are guided by our clearest visual perceptions and an open mind and heart…when we are able to leave our preconceived notions, judgments and expectations behind us.
Since I’m an eclectic photographer, I plan to continue enjoying and practising many styles and schools of photography… But contemplative photography contains a treasure trove of insights and practices that can be used to improve and enliven our image-making.
For those who are still wondering what the object above is that I photographed, it’s part of a boat reflecting part of another boat.