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Mindful : October 2013
38 mindful October 2013 play texture In contemplative photography, as in any mindfulness practice, insights come readily at the beginning, but accomplish- ment comes only through sustained, reg- ular practice. While you are lea rning, try to dedicate time to practicing each week. When you do go out shooting, make sure to give yourself time to fully engage in the practice. It takes time to settle in and connect with seeing, as well as get comfortable with the different elements of the practice. Begin each session by letting go of anything that insulates you from the environment. Don’t listen to music. Turn off the ringer on your cell phone. Don’t chat with friends. Try not to entertain yourself with lots of thinking, planning, or daydreaming. You can practice in all sorts of places, but don’t bother looking for settings that are “beautiful” or “special” or “photoge- nic.” That would be missing the point. Otherwise, it doesn’t really matter where you shoot, as long as you feel at ease. Try to find locations with lots of visual variety. Industrial areas, pedestria n malls, a nd shopping areas a re usually interesting places to shoot. Your normal surroundings are also good, since it is delightful to experience the familiar in fresh ways. The second assignment explores tex ture, which, after color, is the most basic element of the world that presents itself to us. Ever ything has tex ture, so it’s easy to recognize. Yet, it can be difficult to think about. Beyond smooth and rough, we don’t have many concepts about it. While tex ture is ever y where, it’s less prominent than color. Walking down the street, you can experience tex ture ever y where: from rough pavement, to smooth glass, to coarse tree bark, to soft cat’s fur. When you are doing this assignment, try to see how the experiences of tex ture and color differ. Notice how the quality of light affects your perception of tex ture. Rough sur faces will look one way on an overcast day, another on a bright, sunny day, and still another in the late afternoon. Sometimes you can pretend that your eyeballs have finger tips. When you see something, imagine you are also touching it. Let the sense of sight and touch come together. Try this for a little while without using your camera. Begin each session by clearly forming the intention to recognize tex ture, so you will stay focused on that aspect and not get carried off into color or people or what have you. Try walking very slowly, and don’t make many images. Pause to connect with the details of the sur faces around you. When you take photographs of tex ture, fill the view finder or LCD with just the textured element that stopped you. Don’t add anything, and don’t leave anything out. →