Mindful looking

©Ellie Ivanova. Brothers (2011)

The most important reason I believe in photography is its ability to transform the person taking the picture. When you have a camera in your hand, it makes you look harder at the world you are trying to capture. It forces you to notice things,  find beauty in unassuming places and as a side effect, understand the world better, or differently. Love it more. That was in fact the reasoning that gave birth to my idea of the Third Eye Wokshops for Roma kids.

But you don’t need to have a camera in your hand to trigger this process. Actually, the first exercise beginning photographers get is simply bringing a cut out rectangle to their eyes , to practice seeing the world through that for a time. Sometimes we need a created occasion that would make us look. Time set aside for just observing and taking in what we’ve seen.

Taking a few moments out of our busy lives and making an attempt at really seeing is a kind of meditation. I like these moments of intentional mindfulness. This is how I do it.

I find something ordinary to focus on, with a special effort to notice the details: surfaces, textures, emtpy spaces, light, contours, nuances of color. I focus on it for a minute and think how it moves me, once I’ve taken a note of it. I always change my relationship with the things I’ve observed through this exercise. I feel more connected to what surrounds me yet in more harmony.

And since vision prompts attitude, the potential of this mindful looking to change the world is so powerful we just need to give it a try.

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2 responses to “Mindful looking

  1. I love the way you put this! I always carry a camera on me, and I just ordered my first DSLR (should be arriving by mail today!). I’m excited to learn how to use it & do some more ‘mindful looking’ of my own.

  2. Yay for you! I am sure it holds some great adventures for you itself 🙂

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