Saturday, 17 May 2014

Miksang Contemplative Photography Practice Day

Today Hèlen A. Vink of Miksang Contemplatieve fotografie organized a Miksang Contemplative Photography Practice Day in Amsterdam. Practice days are open for anyone who has followed at least one workshop with her (otherwise you have no idea what it is all about). 
black bench with flower shadows
Today it was group of four practitioners. We each had our own goal to come that day: one wanted to brush up her contemplative skills, another hadn't touched her computer in a long while so had not reviewed her pictures and I was there because I like sharing stories and pictures with peer contemplative photographers and to do the eye exercises.
Anjali's blue nails
Contemplative photography is pretty much incorporated in my life: I take my camera with me everywhere I go even to work or doing the groceries. And I noticed not everyone does that, which is fine, because that is not where they are. We all have our own path to go and our own process with contemplative photography.
black bench with flowers
We started the day by telling to each other where we are on this path and what our expectations were for the day. We then showed our freshest photos from the past weeks that we had brought with us on a usb-stick.
horse in window of Chinese restaurant
After some more coffee and tea we went outside to do some grounding and eye exercises of which 'the human camera' is the most common. You open your eyes and see what is right in front of you and then close them pretty quickly. That is to avoid labeling instantly of what you are seeing.
We did a few variations of 'the human camera' (softly gazing or really throwing your awareness out of your eyeballs, varieties in speed) and then in a small circle we had to look at each other. If we saw something that resonated within us, we would tell the other person to freeze so we had time to record what it is that we saw. That was so much fun to do! To be able to look at another person without caution, consideration or embarrassment was just wonderful. Really looking at a person makes you so appreciative of that person, it shows a lot of qualities that you otherwise might have missed.
Henneke's glasses
After that we were all on our own, without a particular intention, just shooting what you saw.
lampposts in the street
I've been practicing Miksang Contemplative photography for quite a while now and I have noticed that my flashes of perception are not high peaks anymore, they've become much more subtle. Sometimes I am not quite sure whether I have one or not, but if I'm drawn back to something and I return in my footsteps I know for sure that I had a flash.
orange crates at the supermarket
During lunch time the looking and seeing does not stop, it just continues. After lunch, we meandered back to our location for the day and selected 15 of our freshest moments. 
Below is the rest of my selection of the day.
red ropes at the children's playground

reflection of a blue car in a black car

yellow lines reflected in plastic at the cheese stand

twig and its shadow on rust

dots on the street

white orchid in the window
Today was exceptionally warm and sunny, it felt like Summer had begun. That meant that we had to be careful with our exposures and frequently had to use exposure compensation in situations where there was a lot of light and dark shadows. I am not very good at using exposure compensation, so I learned something today! 
yellow wall with grid
I had a wonderful time. The phrase that I took home with me was: learning and being happy.

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