"Now is the only time. How we relate to it creates the future. In other words, if we're going to be more cheerful in the future, it's because of our aspiration and exertion to be cheerful in the present. What we do accumulates; the future is the result of what we do right now." -Pema Chödrön
I like to think that each click of the shutter is an opportunity to come back to the present - to appreciate something that is happening now. So, photography is essentially a mindfulness practice. It's a tool that can help us bring more awareness and gratitude to our daily lives. Photography can be like a little meditation, in a way.
When your attention is calm, focused, and clear, it also really impacts the images you're able to make. You might notice more details in the way light fills a space, or pick up on subtle nuances of expression and emotion when you're making a portrait. You might really see how your subject interacts with your background, and wind up making stronger compositions. It's helpful to approach photography as a rich personal practice rather than a technical/mechanical exercise. And, when we think about it like this, we're able to make more meaningful images.
I’ll be exploring these ideas in my upcoming e-course, Meditations on Gratitude. The course includes three creative photo meditations each week, audio lectures, essays, interviews, and a healthy dose of feedback and creative support. If you want to get moving with your photography again, or if you'd like to put more intention into your creative work, I'd love you to join me.