The flash of perception is a sudden moment of creativity. We also call it a direct perception. Direct perceptions are not uncommon and are made use of in the arts,sciences, photography and in daily life. They play, for example, a central role in congemplative photography because they can be turned into photographic equivalents. By doing so, they give images a fresh and new look.
These special moments of creativity come unexpectedly and surprise us because of their shocking simplicity and familiarity. We all have encountered these spontaneous moments of clarity in one form or another. For example, they can break through in the suddenness of getting a joke, accompanied by a burst of laughter. Or we all had the experience of struggling to remember a name and suddenly the missing name appears from nowhere when we least expect it.
There are many famous and dramatic examples in the arts and in the scientific world that seem to illustrate a similar process. Take for example Isaak Newton and the falling apple, James Watt and the steaming kettle, the discovery of the double-helical structure of DNA by Francis Crick and there are many others. When you read their first person accounts you realize how deeply they were involved and committed to their vital question they were working on. They were captivated by it and had this unwavering intention and single mindedness to get to the bottom of what appeared to be an intractable problem.
Often the struggle is a long one but suddenly, when least expected this spark cuts through all the fog that obscures our vision and the right perception clicks into place. The sudden flash of recognition is shockingly simple. What it reveals has always been present but never been recognized or seen as being significant.
In contemplative photography we make use of this process, not to find truth, but to facilitate the occurrence of creative moments. Our intention and commitment is to see clearly. We do it by turning away from object minded seeing. Then we have an opportunity to see more deeply, beyond labels and concepts. Initially this is a perplexing experience but with practice clear moments of seeing will happen more frequently and we will see the difference they make to our images.