Eyes, cameras, explanations

Matthew Johnstone asks this in his calming book “Capturing Mindfulness – a guide to becoming present through photography.”
“What grabs you visually that you can’t fully explain?”

This photo that I took on Saturday, from a high vantage point above the Pauatahanui Inlet has the potential I discovered for some observers to wonder aloud about what they are seeing in the image.
When I was allowing my eyes to wander on Saturday there was something about the kowhai tree that grabbed me. When I loaded the photo up on to the computer I thought I could easily explain what I had seen with my eyes and what the camera had recorded.

But another person offered a different explanation of the image and suddenly I saw a whole new utterly intriguing and evocative possibility.

Matthew Johnstone speaks of being “photopresent” and in the main, this is exactly how I approach going about with my camera. I allow my eye and sometimes my heart to notice and for the action of clicking the shutter to flow from that space. It is a restful, easy space that has that soothing quality of flow most of the time.

The end result is an image which can occasionally have an inexplicable quality to it offering further contemplation and I really like that.

As a postscript: Matthew Johnstone has written the “Black Dog” series and “Quiet the Mind, Capturing Mindfulness”. He has a website here:


10 thoughts on “Eyes, cameras, explanations

  1. Gallivanta

    Lovely to see how you are developing mindfulness via photography. I did a double take with this photo. At first I thought, “Wow, what a stormy sky,” and then I thought, “Is that the sky?” I guess the answer to that is that it is and it isn’t. 🙂

    1. ordinarygood Post author

      I was standing on the edge of a steep bank looking down through the kowhai bush and into the water of the Inlet. I was attracted by the ripples left by a diving gannet as it fished for lunch.
      It was a family member who looked at the photo and said “oh that is the sky, oh no it isn’t or is it?” I had missed the sky/clouds possibility but it is very clear now……inexplicable:-)

      1. ordinarygood Post author

        Well a gannet had dived and caused the water to ripple a good few minutes before I took the photo. A gannet fishing in the Inlet is not common within my experience but maybe I have not been noticing! 😉

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s