It’s not a matter of re-creating the sun, it’s simply a matter of removing the clouds. – Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Miksang, as a term used within contemplative photography, literally is the Tibetan word for “good eye” but is applied in this context as the practice of awareness and direct perception that is brought to fruition through photography.

The aim of contemplative photography is to perceive and portray the world as it is and not as it often is dramatized or idealized in more traditional photographic forms. Michael Wood, one of the pioneers of Miksang photography, describes it as “an experience of joy and liberation rather than an experience of work and being asleep at the wheel”.

I encountered Miksang through the book entitled, Photography and Zen which I started reading because I felt like I was both simultaneously on the verge of a breakthrough with the images I take and also at a standstill. As much as photography is about light, this book helped me remember that photography is also about peaceful intention and thought.

Miksang also provided a vocabulary that helped me describe some of the things I appreciated about images I had taken previously such as the ceramic vase against the yellow wall above from April, 2012. It also helps me clarify a process to place me in an orientation to the world that allows images like this to more naturally occur. This awareness has enabled me to approach my recent photography from a meditative mindset along with the joy of taking more meaningful images.
Contemplative-8I have gone past this doorway nearly everyday for about 7 years and have attempted to photograph it on numerous occasions with very unsatisfactory results. When this photo was taken I hadn’t thought about photographing the door at all but actually the wave of that step called me over and the leaf that greeted me nearly pulled me into the composition of this photo.


Where to from Here –
Recent experience with Miksang suggest that this is only the beginning of a potentially very profound new chapter of photography for me. I have been on a very steep learning curve over the past several months and this is particularly inspiring. A potential issue is to be late for work as the possibility is very high to lose complete track of time walking to work with my camera. I welcome the opportunity to collaborate on projects of this nature moving ahead. – AC