As I always do I've set some intentions to guide me through 2017 with my OLW: Joy. Two of them involve photography. One is the Capture Your 365 project which I haven't done in a couple of years, and thanks to my friend, the other is the exploration of contemplative photography. Mary has a knack for giving me gifts I didn’t even know I wanted and/or needed. Her Christmas gift this year was three books on contemplative photography. She knew that my OLW last year was Mindful, and that I had been exploring meditation and mindfulness. And she knows I love photography. Contemplative photography seemed like the perfect match, and I think she was right.
Shortly after dipping into The Little Book of Contemplative Photography, I discovered Adventures in Seeing on Sandie’s blog, which I purchased and had sent to Sarah’s while we were there. It's proving to be a good purchase, and I've really enjoyed following Kim's site, Contemplative Living through Photography.
Contemplative photography has a different slant that that of capturing the everyday moments, people, and landscapes of your day. Howard Zehr describes it as “being deliberate about approaching photography as a kind of meditative and spiritual discipline.” The subtitle of Kim Manley Ort’s book is “How the Camera Teaches You to Pause, Focus, and Connect with Life.” They advocate leaving your preconceptions behind, and stopping to pause, reflect, and contemplate before you click the shutter. All the books provide exercises and writing activities to use as part of your photography practice. Writing about my photography is a totally new concept to me. Kim Manley Ort hosts a FaceBook group where you can explore the exercises in her book with others. I've been following the discussion, and am just now getting ready to participate.
I’ve dipped into three of the four books, and have started following Kim Manely Ort’s blog which features some very thought-provoking and interesting posts. A week or so ago she posted an essay “The Power of Patterns.” She encouraged readers to look back over photos they’ve taken and to look for those that represent patterns. I knew I’d find quite a few, but was surprised at how many there were in my Lightroom library. I pulled out over 100 and then selected 20 of them to use in thinking about what kinds of patterns and themes run through my photography, and what kinds of metaphors I might find. It’s a whole new way of approaching photography, and I’m looking forward to exploring it.