Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reflecting on the Experience

It's only day 10 of the 365 day challenge to post a photo a day and I am really enjoying it. My eyes have taken a new focus - looking in a new way.

I just read a blog post by Bud Hunt. He talks about his experience last year. His post led me to an old post of D'Arcy Norman who started the challenge last year. A number of things in his post resonated with me.

He talked about how to become a better photographer - one point being that you examine photos you like and try to imitate (isn't that what we do when we deconstruct ads, images etc. with students to understand the codes and conventions in order to help them become better communicators). I already find myself looking at the photo gallery and asking myself why some photos work and others don't.

He talked about "mindful seeing"
"I mean the act and process of being deliberately thoughtful about what you are seeing. To see what you are looking at. It’s something that doesn’t happen automatically - we go through life filtering what we see, reducing input and stimulus to the point that we aren’t as distracted by visual stimuli. Mindful seeing is the process of turning off the filters, of seeing your surroundings unfettered and unobstructed."
This seems to happen naturally for this challenge. To find a photo a day, I find myself looking in a different way - shadows, silhouettes, even shelves of books become interesting to look at. And I find myself looking more and missing less.

And more from Norman's post
"When viewing the world without filtering, even the most boring and banal subjects can become wondrous and interesting. We are constantly surrounded by interesting things that we normally don’t see textures, lighting, patterns, shapes, objects, groupings, even messages."
Even without the camera my eyes have started to focus on those things.

I hope to transfer some of the mindfulness on the visual to other aspects of my life, which is too often in fast forward as I multi-task. My head is too often filled with trivial details of todo lists, shopping lists and other things and not often enough focused on the present. So each day now, I take time to select my photo and reflect on it - to respond to it as we ask children to respond to their reading - and tell my stories. And so far slow good.

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