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:
This week my country has been under the influence of a storm system straight out of the southern ocean. The wind has been fierce in strength and chill factor, here, most of the week.
It has swung from north west and back to south west on occasions and yesterday was a good example of that.
However the black, threatening clouds in the early afternoon moved away and left the air still for a few hours, with warm, milky sunshine bathing the back garden.
There were some photos I wanted and finally I have captured the precise one, after several attempts. However as I turned to come back indoors my eye was caught by the soft creamy sunlight playing on the leaves of the Pandorea. In front of this climber is a brave lavender which still has some flower heads on it.
While the sharpness of the lavender is not as I hoped the lovely colours and the way the light illuminates only part of the leaves is what had appealed to me and stilled me for a time.
I am having an “at home” day today with a list of chores to attend to. It is so easy to let my busy “monkey mind” take control and push me along to “get on” with things.
But then a useful check to all this happened as I was having a cup of coffee and answering emails. Jazz, our cat, came inside and promptly claimed my knee. It would have been easy to move him on as my mind was reminding me of the next chore but I chose to sit quietly with him and to enjoy his purring and relaxation on my knee.
Research shows that patting a cat reduces blood pressure and has other wonderfully calming effects on we “busy” humans. I decided all that was worth capturing and maybe cats get great benefits from human love and attention. Who knows?
In true cat style he suddenly decided to move onto a chair next to me. He groomed a little and then curled up to sleep.
But moments had been enjoyed and the “rush” slowed