There are different strands of contemplative photography. For us it is one of the meditative art forms, if you will, that has its roots in Buddhism.
By ‘contemplating’ we mean ‘being one with’. This happens by itself when we are immersed in what we are doing, when we are fully present. During such moments we are oblivious of our surrounding and have lost the sense of time. Writers describe these moments when writing occurs by itself. In dancing the dance dances by itself and painters talk about the painting that paints itself. When athletes are at their peak they refer to it as being in the ‘zone’, when performance is effortless. In these moments we are free, we have landed in contemplative space where we have lost or forgotten who we are which is the basis for creativity.
Establishing such intimate contact with what we do or see can be facilitated through practice. It requires ‘centering’ before we pick up the camera. This can be done through meditation or any other approach that helps to be centered. When applied to seeing and picture making we call it contemplative photography.