See what you see: the mindful photograph

Posted: June 22, 2012 in Mindfulness, Photography
Tags: ,

[music: Teardrop – Massive Attack]

Ever wonder why holiday photographs usually suck? Why those photos of your last party are pretty lousy? And why am I blogging about mindfulness and photography.

Good photography requires awareness. Running from one site to the next, a guide book or drink in one hand and camera in the other are not conducive to a level of engagement a good photo deserves.

Money can buy equipment, but as Chase Jarvis famously said: “The best camera is the one that’s with you.” Here are some of those of mine that can be found on Jarvis’ website:

I can find a distinct difference in photos depending on how involved I am with my environment. Engaging the shutter release takes no effort, understanding your surroundings, the person you’re photographing, requires active presence, or non-presence.

Here, Ken Rockwell will discuss the importance of composition (and he is right) and the irrelevance of subject (hmmm… not sure I agree). But scroll down to ‘Never Imitate’ and you will read that photography is an exercise in awareness of the present moment. Photographers must put themselves in the frame of mind of seeing, not only their surroundings, but what will make an interesting photo. In this sense, the camera can be a useful tool to engage more fully with the world.

Photos of people requires patience, an eye for a special moment, a mood, a look; the photographer has to notice. Even a candid photo is a relationship the photographer has with his subject.

Digital photography can also be a barrier to good photography; how often has a massive volume of photos become the objective? When sifting through thousands of pictures in search for something good becomes the goal, when speed and intent replace communion. With film photography, one needed a ritual, time to make all of the necessary adjustments; the result would only become clear after processing.

My experiment will be mindful photography. I would like to see if deliberate engagement can improve the quality and content of my photographs, regardless of the equipment used.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
― Ansel Adams


  1. Hook says:

    Maybe you want to check out / /upload to

  2. Dantes says:

    Very nice indeed! one of my favourites if I may say so;

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