…The secret is, it’s all love.It’s all doorways to truth.It’s all opportunity to merge with what is.Most of us don’t step through the doorframe.We stay on the known side.We fight the door, we fight the frame, we scream and hang on.On the other side, you are one with the earth, like the mountain.You hum with life, like the moss.On the other side, you are more beautiful:wholeness in your bones, wisdom in your gaze,the sage-self and the surrendered heart alive.
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.
I have been hoping to capture these frangipani blooms with their little faces turned up toward the sun. I finally managed to get an image close to what I was looking for the other morning.
It was only this year in Florida that I was introduced to frangipani flowers. I discovered three trees in a yard neighbouring the marina, and I found them quite fascinating. The homeowners were happy to let me photograph them as much as I wanted. Also called plumeria, these blossoms are used in leis in Hawaii and have the most delicious fragrance.
The trees were all much taller than me, though, so I had to shoot in an upwards direction to photograph them. I wanted to get the sun behind them. But as you can imagine, getting the perfect exposure proved to be a challenge shooting into the sun. When the petals were perfectly exposed, the sky was blown out. And when the sky had some puffy cloud detail, the flowers were too dark and muddy looking. What to do?
Given my recent experiments with HDR photography, it occurred to me that the solution might be to combine two or more exposures. I tried it and was delighted to find that the final image was much closer to the image I saw with my eyes and that I wanted to share.