Can your photography be improved if it’s used as a therapy or a meditation? Jackie Ranken explains how ‘feeling’ can be such an important part of our art:
Embodied photography is not about photographing bodies at all, it is about recognising how you are feeling within your body before you pick up your camera and then during a photography practice session.
To start the session, close your eyes, take a deep breath, hold it for a few seconds and then let it out slowly, while holding your attention on the breath. Repeat this a couple of times, then with your eyes still closed, quieten your mind by moving your attention around the body from your feet to the tip of your head. Feel for any tension and let it go.
Before you open your eyes, bring your awareness to the sounds and smells around you. If distractions arise or voices in your head start to chatter, let them go and then spend at least twenty minutes being totally absorbed by the photographic process.
Move slowly and make your decisions carefully so that you can notice any weaknesses. Possible weaknesses may be:
• Not being patient enough and you rush from one idea to another.
• Not taking the time to really observe the quality of light that you are shooting in and making sure that it suits the technique you are using.
• Not taking the time to really study the pros and cons of the images that you make, so you can apply this knowledge to the next frame of the next photography session.
• A common weakness is to try and say too much in the one frame, instead of saying one thing effectively.
Be careful to make mindful choices as you move through your camera’s menus. Move the dials in the correct direction. Don’t flick from one place to another looking around. Think before you move. If a movement is incorrect, don’t give yourself a hard time, just map that knowledge into your memory, make the correct action and then move onto the next choice. This repetitive practice will help you to develop a ‘feeling of flow’ where the mechanics of photography don’t get in the way of the creative process.
What's next? Read Jackie's full process in the current issue of Better Photography (Issue 107). Click on the link below to subscribe - plus you get immediate access to over 50 back issues full of super informative material and inspirational ideas! Use coupon code BP40 to get 40% off - just $29.88 for an annual subscription.