The contemplative method of photography, rooted in Buddhism, addresses creativity from a different perspective. It promotes shooting from the heart and not shooting from the head alone. In order to make this transition, we need to turn ‘within’. The author comments on the difficulties involved and makes some suggestions as to overcome them.
The Flash of Perception, the hallmark of Contemplative Photography may manifest as a so called creative accident in many different settings and situations. Its recognition depends on our openness, on our preparedness to go beyond the conventional. The author compares this open mindedness with the playful mind of the trickster in aboriginal societies.
The difference between conventional and contemplative photography represents two perspectives with vastly different outcomes.
The former is seen as exclusive. It is based on a visual language that is primarily directed by conceptual or so called objective thinking that separates us from what we actually see.
The latter is a subjective and inclusive approach. It provides opportunities to face one’s own perceptions directly without interference by thoughts or concepts. This approach, however, requires the undoing and reorganizing of our visual habits.
Too much importance is given to conceptual photography that fovors technique over quality of ‘seeing’, the author contends. As a consequence the possibility of an alternative method, i.e. Contemplative Photography, is not recognized as a legitimate form of taking pictures.
The author describes briefly how and why a contemplative approach can enrich photography.
Contemplative photography with its ordinariness may seem a poor substitute for contemporary, conceptual photography. However, when looked at it from the inside it is a profound way of ‘seeing’ which is easily overlooked and discarded. The author offers an explanation of why it is so.