Thursday, April 8, 2021

Contemplative Photography - Seven Part Workshop

Explore Your Mind and Art Making
May 8 - June 19, 2021

Register at the Chicago Shambhala Center

This seven-week workshop explores the making and viewing of photographs as a contemplative activity. It’s a mashup of classic teachings on mindfulness and photography plus the explosion of photos in the modern world; it invites us to see the sacred and profound in our lives. 

Contemplation: thinking deeply, inner vision, to clear a sacred space

Photography: drawing with light, showing the visible surfaces of things and the artist’s inner state

Each two-hour session begins with contemplation: settling our mind-body and opening up to our experience in the current moment. We’ll then discuss some aspects of photography, bringing our collective knowledge and curiosity to the topic. We’ll end with a question to work with as we make photos during the week between sessions. After the first week, we will present and discuss the images we’ve created between sessions.

The workshop uses contemplation practices, from a mix of Buddhist and artistic traditions, which emphasize our experience of the present moment. Each week will use one technique, for example, a body scan of our current sensations as well as working with breath and thoughts as objects of meditation. We will also use slow looking techniques rooted in the arts, taking time to look and look again; to discuss what we’re seeing and then look some more, seeing more and more in the image; seeing more and more of the world. Learning by doing, participants will apply the contemplative practices to photography.

We’ll use whatever camera we have at hand and, over time, increase our ability to make images with the device. As we build familiarity and confidence in using the camera, it becomes an extension of our mind, an extension of our body. We will use photographic exercises that freshen our approach to the camera, that ask us to look more closely at what we’re seeing, what we’re photographing, and how we go about creating the photograph. 

The workshop gives us several weeks to experience the interaction of seeing and creating. We will take contemplative techniques and apply them to photography. We will take photographic processes and treat them as contemplative activity, and treat photographs as objects of contemplation. 

To register: The Chicago Shambhala Center

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