I came across a very interesting website and blog today. It’s funny how one thing can lead to another and another and now I can’t recall how I even got to this site, except the Universe was pointing me in that direction. The website is about Miksang Photography. This way of photography is all about capturing the essence of what you see with a truthful eye and open mind. The picture above was just that. I had gone to the rooftop to photograph the city of Florence from above, but when I turned, this jumped out at me and I had to respond. It’s infinitely a more interesting photograph than the more common scene of Florence’s rooftops!
Here’s an excerpt from the Miksang Photography site:
“What is Miksang?
Miksang is a Tibetan word that translates as ‘Good Eye’, and is based on the Shambhala and Dharma Art teachings of the late meditation master, artist, and scholar Chögyam Trungpa, Rinpoche.
‘Good’ here doesn’t mean good as we usually use the word, as in good or bad. Good here means that our mind is uncluttered by preoccupation, relaxed and open. Its innate nature is clear, brilliant, and extremely precise…”
And goes on to say…
“Miksang, at its most basic level, is concerned with uncovering the truth of pure perception. We see something vivid and penetrating, and in that moment we can express our perception without making anything up—nothing added, nothing missing. Totally honest about what we see—straight shooting. As we allow ourselves to become more available to the things around us without the biases, filters and formulas often associated with photography, our experience and expression of day-to-day moments becomes more rich and endlessly varied—beyond what we think. One moment, one shot. Graceful Appearance.”
This resonates with what I am striving for in many of my images. Over the past 20 years, in much of my ‘intimate detail work’, I have been photographing this way. The work is mixed in with my other more commercial images that are created for a different purpose, but my favorite images to this day are often the ones that are simple, clear statements, impressions. But in reading further, I also think that this idea can be applied beyond just a close-up detail image.
There’s much more to read on their website and the few blog posting Julie’s done over the past year. But they look like they’ll be a very good read and I would recommend delving into this site and this concept, just to expand your own creative thinking. They write on their web site of a Japanese saying that I have heard before: “what the eyes see, the heart knows”. I am definitely going to be studying this concept a lot more in coming weeks…
Thank you Brenda.
I saw your website today. Your work is very striking and moving. I saw some of your pictures that were taken in Bhutan and thought that you might be interested in Phil Borges’s work. I attended a talk and discussion of his at the Tibetan Museum here in Staten Island. He is interested in indigenous peoples and international women’s issues. I think you will find his work quite compelling.
A question – what software do you use for your website?
Yes, Ron, I know Phil – and his beautiful, different work. Thanks for sharing that link, though.
I use Big Black Bag for my template based website. I’m overall happy with it, it’s been timesaving for me and easy enough to update from wherever I am.
Here is a link to to a gallery of John Daido Lorri’s work.
Thank you, Ron, very much. I’ll check it out.
This is a lovely site with interesting content and very nice links. I am also interested in contemplative photography and am a follower of the recently deceased – Roshi John Daido Loori who was a master of this approach to photography.
Thank you for your comment Ron. Is there somewhere we can all look at the work of Roshi John Daido Loori? It is always interesting to find more information about this approach to photography.
Since I discovered Miksang I have read everything I can find on the topic of contemplative photography. I realize that I have often photographed in in this manner. Last week I went out with the idea to meditate first to clear my mind and to concentrate on colors and lines, to walk slowly and take pictures that spoke to me.
As a looked up I saw a big red stop sign. It said to me stop, look, see. It was my first image. After an hour I felt energized, excited and very happy. I will continue to explore.
What a great little story, Elaine. I love that the first image was a STOP. A true ‘sign’ – no pun intended!! Thanks for sharing this here.
Thank you todd, for your comments. Glad to hear you’ve taken a workshop or two with them. I would agree that the process can be cultivated, indeed. Once you become more aware. That’s the beginning of it, anyway!
Love your photo! Feels fresh and alive.
I had the same experience you mention – that I’ve been trying to touch this “Miksang way” for a long time.
Having taken a few workshops with Michael and Julie I have to say that they do have a method of bring increased awareness to this process…it’s a natural process like when you say it jumped out at you…but can be cultivated…a very rich field