Updated: Oct 30, 2018
Michael Wood talks about finding contemplation in his photography. He talks about the discovering meditation and how this changed the way he saw the world and ultimately how he photographed the world.
Meditation allowed him to remove the filters that he used to see the world. Michael talks about how these filters cause us to label elements in our world as “beautiful” or “ugly” and that affects what we photograph and how we photograph it. He talks about “Dharma Art” or art that tells the truth. Using art as a way to directly express our experiences of the world. See the world as it is.
Michael integrated meditation into his photography – by staying still. He photographed only his garden for 6 months and then just in his neighborhood for another 6 months. Limiting his movement forced him to really look at his surroundings in a deep way.
Michael developed a course called Miksang or “good eye” to help other photographers see their world in a different way – to be good “seers.”
He began to feel joy in his photography rather than what he describes as “being asleep at the wheel.”
The video includes many of Michael Wood’s photographs as examples of how his photography changed with meditation.
The goal of meditation practice is to remove the clouds in order for us to see the sun.
In response to this video, I spent a week photographing in my own garden. Looking for interest in a scene I see every day. I found myself paying attention to the small details and watching as the scene changed day-to-day. I was connecting with my own personal world on deeper level and capturing that connection in my photography.
Published Video Description:
Use your camera as a meditation tool? The photographic image not only records what it is pointed at - it speaks to the photographer's relationship with the world and their quality of presence. Are you looking, seeing, trying, rehearsing? Are you present to what is before you?
Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as 'Good Eye', and was developed by photographer Michael Wood and based on the Shambhala and Dharma Art teachings of the late Buddhist teacher and artist Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche. Miksang is described on the official site as: "...concerned with uncovering the truth of pure perception. We see something vivid and penetrating, and in that moment we can express our perception without making anything up—nothing added, nothing missing. Totally honest about what we see—straight shooting....
When we synchronize eye and mind, we abandon all concepts and predispositions and become completely present in the moment. The world becomes a magical display of vivid perception. We can develop the ability to experience and express these experiences precisely through the practice of contemplative photography."
Article Written by Jennifer Mishra
Jennifer Mishra is an American travel photographer born in Colorado and based in the St. Louis metro area. She has a background in classical music and academia. She is the founder of PhotoYoga. Her photos are published at Wits End Photography or follow her on Facebook or Instagram.
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