Photography can be about the camera and what the camera can do. But for me, the camera is there to catch what I see. The photography of Henri Cartier-Bresson is also all about seeing and he is a great inspiration to me.
“When someone says “sour,” it may remind you of biting into something sour like a lime. Since you already have had the experience of eating a lime and tasting how sour it is, just hearing the word sour and thinking about it, your face makes an expression as if you were eating a lime or lemon right now. Habit is formed out of memory, from that point of view. We begin to reshape our present situation according to that habitual memory and ape instinct, as we might call it.”
Chogyam Trungpa, “The Tibetan Buddhist Path” a seminar at Naropa University, Summer 1974.
So what relevance does this have for photography. Well, a lot. When we see something on our way to work, while shopping or simply brushing our teeth, during that split-second we see the raw qualities of whatever that thing is, its colour, texture, light and form, and thus its raw beauty. But after that short period, our minds arrive at the scene and label, and judge, associate and recall memories of whatever we see, ‘oh, its a can of coke’, ‘its a bus! ugly!’, ‘oh that reminds me of my..”. The beauty in our world sits peacefully in the split-second, and with practice that short period can become minutes.
On the 16th November, 2012 the Nova Scotia Designer Christmas Craft Show comes to the Cunard Centre in Halifax. This is a great craft show showing off the best of craft work from the Maritimes and beyond.
As in the past few years, I will be there exhibiting my limited edition work of nature images from the Atlantic provinces. Much of my work will be from Sable Island. The limited edition collection is considered, by myself, to be my best work. Images must have something extra special about them to be included in the collection, and all have been captured using a contemplative approach.
Here are a few images that will be on exhibit at the show.
I visit Sable Island often, perhaps twice a year for 8 weeks or so. It is a great place for photography but after coming here since 1997 one may think what you see gets old. There are horses, sand, sand dunes, seals, birds, sea, and so on. But when one is really looking, there are endless perceptions. When I see a horse I don’t just see a horse…
ART IN EVERYDAY LIFE
“Every moment we might be doing the same things—brushing our teeth every day, combing our hair every day, cooking our dinner every day. But that seeming repetitiveness becomes unique every day. A kind of intimacy takes place with the daily habits that you go through and the art involved in it. That is what is called art in everyday life.”
in Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche True Perception: The Path of Dharma Art, page 27.
This quote describes well the wonderful sights that are around us everyday, and that paying some attention to that reality allows one to see the beauty in our world.
Here is the fourth series of images from my trip to Japan in July. These images were taken from the region within and around Kyoto and close to the Japanese Alps. We hiked in the Alps for four days; those images will appear next week.
During the past week the light has been rather magical and it has led to me standing on the spot, gasping and then grabbing my camera. As Cartier-Bresson describes below, seeing and capturing these fleeting moments is a way of life, and just another way of expressing yourself.
“As far as I am concerned, taking photographs is a means of understanding which cannot be separated from other means of visual expression. It is a way of shouting, of freeing oneself, not of proving or asserting one’s own originality. It is a way of life.” – Henri Cartier-Bresson
Here is the second series of images from my recent trip to Japan in July. I have noticed that these images are very fresh to me. This really helps with choosing the images that really speak. So, for me, it absolutely pays to let images sit. These images were taken from the region within and around Kyoto.
There is a plant that I have in the front of my garden called Artemisia schmidtiana “Silver Mound”. When I saw this plant at the garden centre I was impressed by its colour and texture and uniqueness so I bought it. After I had manhandled it for planting, it looked totally awful, like I had stamped all over it. However, after a period of time it came back to the plant that intrigued me earlier.
This is the nature of Silver Mound. It is also the nature of the raw perception in contemplative photography. Once that perception arises, you have to treat it well. If you let the busy dialogue of the mind enter, the perception will collapse.