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Photography As A Spiritual Discipline
I often ask myself why I make photographs. First, I should say that most of the time when I make photographs, it is when I am walking about, whether in the woods or in the city. If I'm walking, I'm making photographs. That's pretty much how it goes with me. Those who have traveled with me will vouch for the truth in that statement.
I've read that bringing a camera on walks insulates and isolates you from your environment. I suppose if you're simply snapping away, then perhaps that statement is true. For me, however, the opposite is true. When I'm making photographs, I am tightly in tune with my surroundings. It's as if time slows down and everything becomes much more clear. I can't explain it any better than that.
So where does spirituality enter into all this you might ask? Well, this is only one person's experience and perspective, but I offer it up for what it's worth. When I'm out making photographs, I am forced to slow down and take everything in. This puts me in a place where I am in wonder at humanity and this amazing world in which we live and move and have our beings. When I am in that special place, I marvel at God's creation, whether it be in the sad look in the face of a small child or in the complex beauty of an intimate landscape.
I find that making photographs of what I'm experiencing puts me in much closer touch with that experience. I remember the back stories and I remember the backdrop. This turns the process of making photographs into a spiritual experience and discipline for me. Perhaps that is what keeps me reaching for my camera when I'm heading out.
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