Contemplative Photography & Slow Travel
What is contemplative photography?
Go beyond the habitual ways of seeing and looking - beauty is everywhere!
There’s an inner longing in all of us to see beauty. It’s one of the first things we « plan » when free time comes our way: an outing to our local museum, a weekend getaway to mountains or the seaside, a trip to some far off foreign shore to behold something beyond what we already know. There’s a need to connect to our longing for beauty and to behold it in our eyes.
What if we could find beauty every day, in the mundane of our routines, and even in the off-putting circumstances that inevitably creep up? Could we also be challenged to experience beauty in the midst of our pain and brokenness?
Contemplative photography is a means by which we can enter into beauty by training our mind and eye to synchronize with reality. The real beauty in this contemplative process is that beauty can be seen anywhere when we step out of our conceptual mind to see things as they appear. All of a sudden, we are not in the box anymore and we begin to see patterns, colors, textures, and light in an unusual way. It’s almost like a dance when you thought you could never dance.
The practice of contemplative photography is a liberating experience. Elements are not forced into place nor is the photographer trying manipulate the scene. The end product is not produced, it is just what it is. With this type of lens to see the world, an extraordinary connection with the present consumes the mind. All the mind-clutter is cleared and the eye begins to see beauty in the ordinary. The more time we spend in these freeing moments, the more we learn the art of letting go of our anxieties and stresses.
Unfortunately, we do have to work at seeing beauty. Everyone can relate to those « dry spells » when nothing seems to strike us as beautiful. Life events can disintegrate us and make it difficult to pay attention, let alone, see beauty. How then do we get a sense of wonder back?
Contemplative photography stimulates the right side of your brain allowing you to dance when you thought you could never dance. The moments of freedom you encounter as your mind and eye see beyond the preconceptions, bring back your sense of wonder. A process and a discipline setting you back on the journey to see the world again…fresh and always new.
What is slow travel?
There is much to do and see when traveling near or far. If we are not careful, we get caught up in the checklist and forget about the little moments along the way that deserve our full attention. As a travel guide, going back to the same places many times, I am reminded of how details are always changing. Nothing is ever the same. The light, the shadows, the clouds, the colors, the little girl licking her ice-cream cone, the cat sleeping in a warm corner, the pigeon sitting on a statue, and the list could go on and on.
Slow travel is about the big and the small. It’s like weaving together the not-to-miss sites with the details. It’s seeing the 12th century roman church and walking down the worn stone slabs that dip here and there from centuries of pilgrims making their way to the alter. It’s entering the Roman arena and realizing the beacon of light shinning through the top arches and illuminating the center stage is your special spectacle.
Travel is a gift of time to remember to be present in the moment. As with contemplative photography, we enter into the here and now letting the mind breathe in the beauty of the moment.
Join a small group tour designed with the slow-travel approach and guided contemplative photography a part of each day. Inspiring accommodations and a discovery of the less touristy side of Provence. Provence Lavender & Photography Tour Contact Emily today for your spot on one of her photography or cultural tours.