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Photography, mindfulness and slowing it down

Bee-Elle - African Wildlife Photography - Kenya Sunset Africa

What does photography mean to you?

The world spins fast, there are busy schedules to follow, and sometimes we don’t have the time to take in all the beauty around us.

In nature photography, photographers make it a habit of making things stand still- both in the art they produce, as much as their physical being while capturing the shot. Every time we see something beautiful worth capturing, we stop, and slow it down, and appreciate.

The thinking is silent, the processing in their minds about the view before them is occurring as much as the processing of what the technical requirements needed to capture the image, and there’s a lot artistry in this.

The cognitive processes are constant, we are present when tweaking the setup, thinking about the right composition, the feel that we want to achieve from the capture, what depth of field, what exposure, where is the light source, and what type? What film sensitivity do we want? Where is the movement, where is the stillness, which filter, what exposure do I want, what effect do I want, and a score of other factors that swirl around like an artist’s paintbrush on canvas.

But most importantly:

What do I want to express? What story do I want to tell? What does this image mean to me?

I’ve written about this before, but I question whether we always need to capture the perfect shot. And I say nay. For the perfection already exists in the scene, in your perception and interpretation of what is in front of you, how you relate to the beauty before you, and what is. It’s the process. That’s the magic of it. And without us knowing, we are appreciating the subjects or scenes, like gifts, like presents to us, every single time.

Photography slows it down, and we become mindful. The best thing about it, is that we don’t even notice.


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