“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.


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