Mindfulness is the latest buzzword in pop psychology. It's about being totally in the moment and focussing on what you are doing, aware of your thoughts and feelings but not being tossed around by them.
If you’re tired of shooting the usual late-summer subjects, try some mindful photography, as practised by photographer and Buddhist Kimberly Poppe. “Contemplative photography is a way of exploring or discovering the beauty in your everyday life—the extraordinariness in ordinariness," she explains. "Anything can be a suitable subject for contemplative photography. You can start right in your own kitchen, back yard or city street. If you take the time to actually slow down and look, there is an incredibly rich source of photographic material right around you.”
Kimberly reckons contemplative skills are important for post-processing too. “Try to clarify with software what it was you actually saw. In this age of digital manipulation, where many images are highly manipulated, over-saturated and over-processed, experimenting with contemplative photography can help bring you back to the freshness and the joy of actually seeing. As Saul Leiter said: ‘Seeing is a neglected enterprise.’ ”
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* For one day (or one week), focus on simply seeing colour; or texture, for example the roughness of an old brick wall or the smoothness of a silk shirt; or light itself, as it might fall on your morning coffee. Strong sunlight can be the easiest to start with, but you can also work on noticing patterns of artificial light as well.
* When something strikes you or makes you stop for a moment, simply stay with what you are actually seeing, then try to capture it as authentically as possible. This means shooting what you actually saw, without spending time to try to make it more dramatic.
* In your composition, try to capture the essence of what you’re seeing, rather than squeezing everything in. Less is more in this type of photography.