How can photography be a mindful experience?

14th May 2020
by Lamar Francois
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During the lockdown process over the last few weeks I thought I’d chime in with some thoughts as how the creative outlet of photography can of great benefit to mental health – through considering seven key ideas which make up a mindful practice…

I’ve introduced this image with a couple of views from my bedroom window – an ongoing personal project I’ve had for a while showing how different things can be from day to day even from similar viewpoints…

Non judging

Photography is a great medium and there are endless possibilities within it – and endless ways you can do that. You can be surprised at what you find if you choose not to go along the established path but instead forge your own vision. What makes a good image? What makes a good subject? What do those questions even mean? For personal photography , the answers to those questions are only meaningful to you.

Patience

A lot of the candid photography I make is rooted firmly in being with the present moment and making the most out of it – as opposed to trying to rush to an anticipated future , whatever that might be or bring before acting. Future moments will unfold themselves , but it’s very helpful to be able to ground yourself back to the present…

Beginner’s Mind

The framed view of a camera lens gives you a new way of seeing. Having the ability to changed and controlled in terms zoom , focal length (affecting angle of view) , depth of field , gives so many possibilities.

The point of beginner’s mind is to apply a new mindset to this new way of seeing compared to how we already experience the world and what we’ve learnt from past experiences which don’t necessarily apply.

Trust

As hinted at earlier , there are no “right” or “wrong” answers with photography – so the medium gives an excellent opportunity for you to trust in the present – as opposed to worrying about how things might work in the future.

Non-striving

Photographs are simply moments in time – all that matters is that you’re able to make the most of each moments as it comes your way. I’ll admit I sometimes find this difficult – always thinking whether I’d made the best decision with timing/composition/angles , but I end up eventually finding a way of letting go – things are always subjective.

Acceptance and Letting Go

Didn’t get what you are looking for? Things didn’t work out the way you’d hoped- Don’t worry , take another shot 😉

Some useful mentions :

Thought I’d give a mention to a couple of

Lockdown games – The Photo Parlour Dan Wheeler has put together some fascinating videos on exploring ideas and compositions in photography – talking through some of his own work as well as talking through some of the work of those who have influenced him along the way.

Discover Still – Paul Sanders : Paul has really taken to heart the idea of mindfulness in the work he does as a landscape photographer – similar to myself he has had some tough times and been able to use photography as a medium to find healing . Inspirational chap – who I was fortunate to meet last year.

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I help creative people and brands be heard through applying my unique vision of photography as both an art and a science.
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