When I walk I see pictures, I am not mad I am a photographer. My mind is filled with images. Look at the colour of those leaves against that dark tree trunk. Look at that old man sitting on a bench. The clouds are amazing!
We are photographers, and as we take more and more pictures we develop that sense of seeing. The camera is just an extension of ourselves capturing that moment.
Photographers live in the moment. Cartier Bresson called it the decisive moment. Capturing as he put it, ‘in a fraction of a second’, ‘the significance of an event as well as of a precise organisation of forms which give that event its proper expression’. As photographers, we are always looking, forever seeing.
It is all too easy to rush through life without stopping to notice very much. Preoccupied with our thoughts, concerns and anxieties. Professor Mark Williams, former director of the Oxford Mindfulness Centre, describes this as ‘“trapped” in reliving past problems or “pre-living” future worries’. He believes that living the moment, aware of the world around you and your own thoughts and feelings can improve our wellbeing.
Recently I saw an inspiring presentation by Paul Sanders a photographer with a mindful approach to photography. His website is Still which describes his philosophy.
‘I believe that photography has the power to influence our perception of the world around us, building a sense of appreciation and contentment simply by taking the time to notice what’s around us and how that makes us feel. Through photography, we can discover a better way to understand ourselves, our thoughts and our feelings, and to reconnect with a world we normally rush through’.
There was a lot to take away from his talk, but what impressed me was the notion that you don’t have to pick up your camera and go out to take a particular picture. e.g. “Today I will take street photographs in Soho”.
Instead, pick up the camera and see where it takes you. Following an evening listening to Paul. I started to venture out and photograph what I saw, and what expressed how I felt in that moment.
The results are not fantastic photographs, (see above) but it made me realise that seeing and living the moment, is one of photography’s greatest gifts.