The meditative Photographer
Is there a common trait of photography and meditation? How to improve the quality of the captured to show the essence of the moment? Can pictures transmit a feeling of a place and an emotion to the situation?
The beauty of street or documentary photography in general lies in capturing the moment, in telling a story through a still picture. In master pieces of the art it is possible to feel emotion in your mind and body in a magic transmission and getting one with the shown. It is magic indeed, the image speaking to you on so many levels. This can be a meditative experience of the viewer, the consumer. Being one with the scene and clearing the mind completely of the clutter of everyday life.
Now there is a full process behind capturing such images. The art of photography. Given that the photographer masters the technical skills he knows the craft, if he has a reasonable gear he has the tool to put the technical skills in practice. Though these are just the technique and technology to it, does it lead to outstanding pictures showing the soul of a scene? It might, or might not.
The chances might increase if there is a soft and dedicated process behind. A process of visioning, of attaching, of being one with the to be captured situation. A mindful slowness and patience paired with the intention of the scene. An intention of what is it you are looking for and allowing a flow of life unfold in front of you. Going out with the intention to merge with what you see and start feeling with what you see requires that the mind is free from noisy everyday problems, that a clear focus of mind is given, but also an openness to be part of something special.
Yet life is a series of beautiful moments the exceptionally outstanding moments are rare and might only be there for a split second. To capture these you as photographer need to hit the “decisive moment” as Henri Cartier Bresson, one of the most acclaimed early street photographers called it. As the exceptional moments are rare and moments might be short it also means that patience is needed. The decisive moment might be missed many times for a multifold of different reason. Beyond the technique and the tool there is very little which can be controlled by the photographer – the chaos of the universe unfolds in every moment. Many attempts are needed to capture an extraordinary image of an extraordinary moment, this might lead to frustration especially when the expectation is too high. Setting expectations realistic and a certain detachment from it will help. Visioning the image before it actually happens is one of the decisive factors. It is what you could call creative process and intuition. Less is very often more. Less gives you the time to focus on special things and on being more open for the special moment to occur. It also supports your reflection on your vision, creation, the perspective you chose, angles of viewpoints, timing and lighting.
Happiness and joy, sadness and despair are easier visible emotions of a person in a shot. With capturing expressive faces an emotion can be transmitted easily.