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The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes
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The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World with Fresh Eyes

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4.11 of 5 stars 4.11  ·  rating details  ·  128 ratings  ·  19 reviews
This book teaches us how to fully connect with the visual richness of our ordinary, daily experience. Photography is not just a mechanical process; it requires learning how to see. As you develop your ability to look and see, you will open, more and more, to the natural inspiration of your surroundings.

Filled with practical exercises, photographic assignments, and techniq
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Paperback, 226 pages
Published April 12th 2011 by Shambhala
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Bill Graham
This was my first book on contemplative photography. It gave me a real sense of how to engage what I'm seeing. Since I'm a nature photographer, this book has launched me into a much deeper worldview of engaging nature and to develop my own body of work. My only problem with their way of doing things is that they tend to be purists and reject the idea of post processing. In doing so, they seem to forget that the dynamic range of the human eye is greater than that of a camera. To me some post proc ...more
Dale
There are a great many beautiful photographs in this book. Photos that are austere, elegant, cool, detached and mostly lifeless. The photos celebrate a kind of elegant starkness that seeks to divert attention from the messy realities of life. Even those with the zen-mandated element of nature - the single leaf on the auto body, the washed-out sky with abstract looking tree branches in the corners, the reflecting pond with a single hanging branch reflected perfectly - seem poised, artificial, rep ...more
Trish
4.5 stars/Non-Fiction; Photography
*Highly recommended*

Walk down any photography section in either your local bookstore or library and you are sure to be inundated with books about the technical aspects of photography. You will find books on posing your subjects, composing your shots and how to manipulate them in post production with the latest software. It is no secret that knowing the ins and outs of these things will help you produce great 'technically' correct images. But what about the all-i
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Nikko
As someone who shoots both large format, which requires a lot of visualization when capturing an image, and other formats from 35mm to iphone, I really appreciated this book - it is such a different way of relating to one's environment. Often photography gives me an excuse to go out and be in different and beautiful place and after going through this book, I feel like I relate to the environment I am shooting in in a different way. It is a must have book for any photographer.
Andrew Frueh
As a young person, I developed a belief that artistic quality was directly connected to technical precision. Somehow this belief persisted as I began my training as a technical artist in 3D production, which led to a completely baseless disdain for photography. Drawing, painting, 3D, all these media forced an artist to create an entire world. But a photographer only had to push a button, and they had a finished piece. It seemed to me that the sole art of a photographer was to carefully assemble ...more
Trish
One doesn't have to have a special camera, nor be a professional photographer. One does have to see. The idea proposed here is that we look and not excite ourselves with the notion of capture, but be still enough to recognize what is ready to be captured. Laid out in a series of exercises, this book leads one through ways of seeing. An exercise is suggested, then the authors or their students present their photos as examples of the exercise completed. The author stresses that these photos not be ...more
David Ranney
"Technique is important only insofar as you must master it in order to communicate what you see . . . In any case, people think far too much about techniques and not enough about seeing."
A semi-useful book littered with Buddhist platitudes and spattered with relevant exercises in the art of "seeing." I actually agree with the general philosophy; if you walk around for twenty minutes, there are at least a hundred interesting photo opportunities that will largely go unseen. The reason? We are for
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Sue
This book teaches you, (as the seer/photographer), to slow down, to be mindful of the moment of seeing something.
Even seeing something that could be photographed is as good a moment as actually taking the photo. There is no need to rush, to go to faraway places to get good photos. Moments of beauty are everywhere around you wherever you are.
It is the 'seeing' of that perception, that moment in time, and taking the photo of that thing with no extraneous cropping, composing or fiddling with camera
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Ron Davidson
I lost my Muse (in several ways) a while ago, and I would like to get it back. A book really isn't the way, although it does offer some help. This book is essentially a print version of the Miksang contemplative photography classes I took about 10-12 years ago, when I was active in Shambhala Buddhism. It didn't really add anything to my knowledge base, but it is a good introduction for those who haven't had any instruction in contemplative photography. The exercises in the book could be helpful, ...more
Burning Candle
This book is more helpful to me. I am doing the research in the contemplative photography.
Jen Baxter
Excellent exercises to really slow down and wait for a flash of perception to start photographing. Would read this book again and again and do the practice over and over because it would be different every time.
Carol Doubek
I've read two chapters, so far, and it seems to be a very good book. They have a very interesting take on how we should go about seeing the world...and they aren't just talking about when you are using a camera. Really good photographs, too.
Deigh
This is really the practice of mindful awareness - sort of a Zen thing - applied to photography. It does offer some new and interesting ways of looking but left me a little cold.
Marcus Peddle
A little bit airy-fairy at times but I think some of the exercises helped to improve and change my visual perception of the world. The many example photos were also helpful and inspiring.
Alan Grodin
I picked up this book and it helped me define my style of photography. I have since taken a workshop with the author and it was awesome. I heartily reccomend the book

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Deb
The writing and pictures were both a bit flat, but they did get their point across,a different way to "see". The exercises are actually fun to try out, like a treasure hunt.
Caelie


I loved the epilogue to this book and the exercises. Great to read abt connections between Buddhist practice and photography.
Bryan
Inspiring. Practical information, fun assignments, and beautiful photography throughout.
Pam
Much ado about nothing, could have been 1/4 the length.
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Andy Karr is a writer, photographer, longtime meditator, and Buddhist teacher. He trained intensively with two of the great founding teachers of Western Buddhism: Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, author of Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, and Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, author of Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism, Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, and other classics.

Andy’s second book (written with Mich
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“Photography is not purely a mechanical process. You need to know how to look, where to point the camera, and when to press the button. These acts depend on the eye, mind, and heart.” 2 likes
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