Sunday, September 21, 2014

Zen and the Art of Photography

Trees at the US National Arboretum

In an effort to cultivate expansiveness (my word for the year), I have created what I hope is a carefully cultivated list of workshops and training courses for myself for the year.  To match with our Zen Gypsies’ four pillar philosophy, I have chosen courses to expand my knowledge in mindfulness, creativity, movement and self-inquiry.  

Stones and winter berries

My most recent workshop was Zen Through the Lens at the US National Arboretum.  This workshop touched on the Zen Gypsies' pillars of mindfulness and creativity.  The instructor, Tuan Pham, is a lifelong meditation practitioner as well as an award winning amateur photographer.  We started and ended the session with meditation practices to help us sharpen our senses in order to enhance our "seeing"  when looking through the camera lenses.   The zen principles of mindfulness that we learned about photography can also be applied to everyday life.  

Bare branches against a stone wall

On the way back to the parking lot after the end of the workshop, I took a few photos to see if I could put any of the things I learned in the short workshop into practice.  I did find myself looking at things a little differently than I would have before.  My father was a professional photographer, so my training in the art has been by way of osmosis rather than anything formal.  We were always stopping to capture something that I probably would not have noticed otherwise.  I've never been interested in any of the technical side of photography so I am excited to be able to hone my abilities by exploring the incorporation of mindfulness practices into the process.  I am looking forward to diving deeper in the  upcoming in-depth four week hands-on session of Zen and The Art of Photography that will be coming up in the spring.  I look forward to sharing photos with you as the process unfolds.

"Art is not practiced solely for utilitarian purposes ... It is also meant to train the mind and bring it into contact with the ultimate reality."   D. T. Suzuki

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