I recently read a comment in response to a YouTube video in which the viewer expressed his annoyance at the use of the term ‘mindful photography’, suggesting that there is ‘no such thing as mindful photography’.
While it may be true that there is no official genre of photography called mindful photography, it certainly does exist and is practised by thousands of photographers.
In my view, mindful photography refers to doing photography mindfully or doing photography as an aid to helping us become more mindful.
We can do landscape photography mindfully; we can do street photography mindfully. It all depends on our mindset on each occasion that we have a camera in our hand.
Photography brought me to this place. The image itself may not be fantastic, but the photography experience, and the mindful experience, on that day was memorable.
HOW PHOTOGRAPHY HELPS YOU TO BECOME MORE MINDFUL
The topic of this post is to consider how photography can help you become more mindful, something that is becoming very important in today’s uncertain world.
More and more people would like a way to switch off from a constant bombardment of bad news and from their own negative thoughts.
Sitting still and trying to meditate or practise mindfulness is not for everyone.
For those who are more visual in their approach to life, the way to still the mind might be to get out into nature and be immersed in all the sights, sounds, smells, mood and atmosphere of the natural world.
But at times even this activity can bring a sense of sadness and hopelessness when we think of the way in which we humans are behaving in the world and the way in which we are treating the natural world.
Photography offers us something more than just being in nature and observing, although that is an important part of the photographic process.
Photography allows us to connect with our environment in a meaningful way, to engage with the elements and become one with the subjects we are photographing.
Springtime brings an abundance of opportunities to contemplate the beauty of nature.
In choosing our subjects we are giving meaning to the things around us. To me, this is mindfulness in action; a situation where our focus is firmly on what we are doing in the moment and to which we give our full attention.
When I allow photography to be a mindful process I can let go of other thoughts and worries and concentrate on what I like to do – take photographs.
My final images don’t have to be award winners, they are just images that are pleasing to me.
Some of them may even be good enough to share.
The process is what’s important, being present in each moment, enjoying the feeling of the camera in my hand, the subject and composition lined up in front of me, and the click of the shutter button as I capture the image.
Doing photography mindfully is not an occasion to be critical or negative about your images.
It is a time to wander, observe, admire, choose what you like and enjoy the moments and the process.
Mindful photography may not be a photography genre, but photography does, in many ways, give us an opportunity to be more joyful, to be more mindful.
Being in tune with the landscape and connecting with the natural environment as we make our photographs is a great way to disconnect from the stresses of everyday life.
And that can’t be a bad thing!
You might also be interested in the following YouTube video: