peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo: Blog http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog en-us (C) peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:17:00 GMT Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:17:00 GMT http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/img/s/v-5/u4355717-o902478031-50.jpg peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo: Blog http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog 80 109 Photo Buddies Light and Shadow http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/photo-buddies-light-and-shadow Light and Shadow
good photography buddies who can teach us a lot about life...

Three most important buddies for crafting photographic imagery that makes us stop and look longer than two seconds... :
 Light-Shadow Light-Shadow Light-Shadow

Posing, props, subject matter, a dramatic moment captured... all can be captivating by their own;
still, even when using the camera for quick snapshot recording of daily events and activities, paying attention to light and shadow can make the difference between a  one-of-a-million seen and forgotten pics and a  one-in-a-thousand image that lingers -

PH869a shadow in hot air balloon 3 -21,5x13,5 -sept09-7042PH869a shadow in hot air balloon 3 -21,5x13,5 -sept09-7042shadows preparing a hot air balloon
 

Making either one or the other photograph is not a question of right or wrong photography, but is a question of conscious choice and use of one's camera; even more so of using one's mind -
a question of whether or not intention and deliberation is involved in the process of photographing -

Often, of course, we have neither choice nor influence on the light-shadow situation in a scene, such as when we cannot move our location or change the surrounding light as it is; even this we can be aware or unaware of, however -

Often, too, though, we do have options to even just slightly adjust our camera location, turn the subject, wait for natural change of ambient light, or alter the appearance of light and shadow in a scene by use of lighting equipment and modifiers, be it of the manufactured kind or the spontaneous and creative makeshift kind -

PH ppl flute busker sfx zf-4228PH ppl flute busker sfx zf-4228classical flute busker

 

Fortunately, in making a photograph, lack of intention and awareness carries less potential for harm, for example, than when operating a table-saw in a 'quick-auto-half-attention-snapshot-mode'  -
This ought not, however, lead to sloppy use of the tools; I would say, on the contrary, using our photography equipment has the potential for becoming a practice for walking this world in a more mindful manner, paying attention to detail, training not only our
eyes and vision for creative imagery, but also the mind to live in and fully perceive the present as it is -

Considering our art in this light... it becomes a way of life
 

peter vernon quenter

Vancouver July 2015

 

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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Zen art photography attention awareness blog post creativity learning about life light lighting equipment mindful perception photo skill practice shadow snapshot tool wisdom http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/7/photo-buddies-light-and-shadow Sun, 26 Jul 2015 19:09:03 GMT
Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt - short book review http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/manipulism-and-the-weapon-of-guilt---short-book-review The creative process requires a mind free to imagine and free to think; it must be free to search, roam and get lost; it cannot create beauty, virtue, and truth when restrained from dreaming and inventing and experimenting with ideas and beliefs and with the most outlandish thought experiments.

That is the soil, the the nourishment, the garden within which we, as creative beings, learn, grow, evolve, and in the process enable a civil society in which individuals, mutually, are free to explore and strive for goodness.

Stifling this freedom is most detrimental to what the human race has accomplished throughout history so far; culturally, economically, technologically, and as a civilization. It is detrimental to mind and soul in that it steals our natural human incentive and striving.

This is why I recommend reading the book

Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt, © 2014 Mikkel Clair Nissen            (read on below)

 

yin    yang

Were I not of a libertarian mindset, I would make this book mandatory reading in school, teachers included, for all current politicians and bureaucrats, for all parents and would be parents... in short for all.

Alas, coercion is not my style, thus, all I can do is encourage... no, implore you to read
Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt

I will go so far as to consider it one of the most important books to understand the current political scene and trends, and social and economical upheavals especially in the Western world.
This is not a book only about Denmark!

It is an easy and quick read, though, I hope as impressing to you as it is to me.   


from the blurb
“ Manipulism and the Weapon of Guilt: Collectivism Exposed
is the utmost controversial exposé and carefully detailed description of the awful emotional mind game that facilitates communism, socialism, and social-liberalism, known as collectivism.

The book exposes Denmark, the supposed happiest nation on earth, for what it truly is: collectivism's biggest propaganda hoax. Danish author Mikkel Clair Nissen tells the hidden facts and realities of life in Denmark’s democratic-socialism that they never want you to know. “

 

Here is what I think of it

The current political agendas in the West seem to ever more speedily drive us toward a mix of socialism, fascism, oligarchism, liberalism (as in current meaning, not classical), cloaked in facades of pretend democracy, ultimately to resolve in the long, even publicly announced global one-world government.

Economies in crisis fabricated by mainstream economists who tow the politically-expedient agenda line; wars between West and East fabricated by banker-industrialist bedfellows and enabled by bought politicians; 
global environmental problems regulated into existence by special-interest industry protection from accountability and responsibility by, again, bought politicians;
social upheaval incited and instigated by fear mongers, war mongers, race biters, gender haters, class-warfare cultural marxists (make sure to read up on that one!), envy inciters;
all propagandized and promoted by the mainstream media tool, bought and infiltrated by agents of the rulers behind the scenes.

As this drive toward the engeneering of a society of an un-thinking servile citizenry has clearly been speeding up through the recent couple of decades (though going on for a good hundred years with clear intention), it is also, largely and gratefully due to the internet, becoming more apparent to ever more people.

Many have used the term collectivism to describe the trend society is moving toward. Certainly daily new regulations, laws, and policy making confirm the term as appropriate.

Political correctness, banning and criminalization of what for all evolution have been normal and natural activities of human life, state interference into ever more private aspects of our lives, equalitarianism with the goal of not giving equality before the law but of making everybody the same, serve not to enhance human individuality and responsibility, but lead to censorship of the mind, to stifling of creativity, and to loss of productive incentive in life.

It is imperative for the survival of the human spirit to recognize and understand whence from and how this collectivist beast operates amongst our midst; how it is able to prey, feed, and grow upon people all around us.
If we do not, the future of human society may very well become one of intellectually and morally zombiefied pseudo human beings.

PH1650a smokey coal pot sfx zf-2947PH1650a smokey coal pot sfx zf-2947charcoal smoke

be not led astray by smoke screens


Mikkel Claire Nissen leads us in well thought out sequence and with astute detail through the psyche of the collectivist mind; its make up, its roots, its manifestations in how it affects other people’s lives and society, culture, and morality as a whole.

His recounts of many real-life examples of personal encounters with friends, bureaucrats, foreigners, with the social realities in daily life, policies, statistics, make reading this book almost like a hands-on manual.

With this awareness, the collectivist mindset can be recognized in daily life, in conversations, in school curricula, in interviews with bureaucrats, speeches by politicians, hollywood movies, TV shows...

Once you know the (so predictable) words and behaviours to look for, it becomes easier to disarm the illusionary weapons of the collectivist, for he has none that are based in reality.

Make sure to read to the end, the plot gets better and clearer as the chapters progress towards the practical how-to of life with collectivists amongst us.

Although I might consider myself having been sensitive to collectivist propaganda before reading this book, I find myself fascinated by Nissen’s in depth expose and his providing the tools we can use to face the socialist-collectivist mindset in our daily dealings.

After all, is it not one of the greatest tasks not only libertarians but all who desire freedom face, to clarify and expose the fallacies of the imposition of socialist-collectivist thought upon humankind

peter quenter


the book / ( e-book, too )
http://manipulism.com/

an interview
http://information-machine.blogspot.ca/2014/05/mikkel-clair-nissen-psychopathic.html
 

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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Creativity Mikkel Claire Nissen book review creative process leftist mind libertarian manipulism narcissism socialism weapon of guilt http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/2/manipulism-and-the-weapon-of-guilt---short-book-review Tue, 10 Feb 2015 06:18:30 GMT
Slow Down http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/slow-down
Hey... Slow Down  !



Do you know the feeling when you are out on a photo-walk through the park, downtown, the local neighborhood and suddenly you realize that you are just rushing from one imperfect scene to the next in search of *The* image of the week ?

It’s time to slow down!

This is good advice not only for photographers, of any genre, but also for poets, painters, dancers, musicians, and even not only artists, but for creators of all kinds.

PH1650a smokey coal pot sfx zf-2947PH1650a smokey coal pot sfx zf-2947charcoal smoke

Jay Maisel, one of the fabulous contemporary photographic artists, considers the ‘gesture’, being perceptive of people’s behaviour and nuances of speech and movement (much of his practice happens to be photography on the streets of New York). Though, do apply the principle to any genre and any practice.

Observe astutely, pay attention to detail, to timing, anticipate, and especially let go of seeking after preconceived images and results.
Allow the process of creating to unfold; allow for the unexpected to reveal itself; allow for what I like to call ‘guided accidents’ - not everything in the process of creating can be controlled, but with a bit of skill we can guide the tools, the ink, the timing, the direction of the process, and then leave space for that process to manifest itself along its own, personal so to say, specific path.

Sure, creative perfection, be it photographic, in dance, music, verse, can happen in a split second... yet, just as enlightenment happens in a sudden unexpected moment, both are encouraged, even enabled, by a long preparatory process of creative development and practice leading up to that split-second perfection that fulfills our soul’s yearning for that nourishing feeling of creative accomplishment.

So, slow down the wielding of your brush, the pen, your stride along the sidewalks; the space between your notes and rhythms, slow down the frequency of the shutter clicks, and of the thoughts jumping from one story to the next distracting from what is in front of you.

PH1920a pedestrians in urban fog sfx zf-4716PH1920a pedestrians in urban fog sfx zf-4716Early morning fog in the streets of Vancouver


Make space inside and outside of the mind  -
The audience will feel it in your imagery, hear it in your music, and read it between your lines.


Here are a couple of brief minutes with Jay Maisel

on being open and slowing down
https://vimeo.com/116692462

on gesture
https://vimeo.com/116718991

peter
 

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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice Zen allowing space creative process miksang slow down http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2015/1/slow-down Fri, 16 Jan 2015 02:51:56 GMT
Creativity and Freedom - Freedom creates http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/creativity-and-freedom-freedom-creates Creativity and Freedom        Freedom creates

Infusing the process of creativity - and creativity is surely a process, not a goal or a given talent - with the message of Liberty.

Creativity being a process, let us consider first neither the ultimate message, nor the method as in which technique, what kind of canvas, which sort of pigments, or camera equipment to use.

 Let us first examine how Freedom may affect the process of creating.
After all, human beings, originally born free unto this planet, must express creativity in order to survive. One needs to have ideas and not only ideas, but also ideas about how to implement, realize, manifest ideas.
 At some age in early life, we will need to figure out things for the first time, be it finding drink and food and how to make it edible, creating shelter, making tools, advancing technologies, resolving conflict without ending up killing or getting killed, understanding the mind, unraveling the depth of psychology, all are processes of creativity we had to and will have to face at some time or other.

Eventually we may even have been creative and inventive enough to allow productivity to become sufficiently abundant and enable us to save some for the next day or two and begin freeing up time for pursuits not of immediate survival, but such as philosophy, art, imagination.

Human beings, inherently, are creative beings. It is what our minds and hands do, we create;

 

 Enso  - it is the end-less emptiness that contains the all-encompassing potential

enso5 goldblack1exenso5 goldblack1exEnso - 'Zen'Circle


We all have inborn potential. It matters not that there are variances in degree, interest, talents and skills, and accomplishments.
 The fundamental drive in human nature is to act, and act creatively. 

Creative not only in the context of art, of course, as every action can be seen in a creative context.
Getting out of bed in the morning, brushing one’s teeth, making tea, going shopping, picking and choosing and making selective decisions all day long, are acts of putting ideas into reality, creating in thinking and doing.
 Creating, importantly, is not only about building things of material substance, but is also about the building of understanding and the learning of right and wrong, of philosophy, morals, and ethics.

Civil society depends on the whole range of such creative pursuits by members of the human community.

Creativity, of course, also means productivity. Not always and not necessarily productive as in producing wealth or even producing something beneficial; humans can be frivolous, wasteful, and even err. 
Yet, without creativity, including the experiences of waste and frivolity and errors there would be no advancement in human evolution; neither biologically nor in regards of civilization, and not in evolution of humane-ness, either.

For human creativity and its potential to fruition, the freedom to have ideas, to think freely, to choose, to act upon thoughts spontaneously and without interference in the continuum of Yin and Yang is essential.
( I will leave aside, for now, the consideration for the need for humans, also, to act in accordance with universal principles of non-aggression and interference in the freedom of fellow human beings, which neither negates nor changes the requirement of freedom itself)

Yin Yang
PH1533a pebbles in beach sand yinyang sfx -7526PH1533a pebbles in beach sand yinyang sfx -7526pebbles on beach - yin yang - polarity

Should this freedom of natural human creativity be hindered, stifled, dis-allowed, restrained, even punished... imagine the loss, the slowing of evolution of society, the stagnation of advancements in technologies, the depression and psychological harm from unfulfilled dreams, ideas, and human potential...
Once we begin looking, the hindrances and the undermining of creative freedom can, unfortunately, be seen all around us in current societies - (I will write on some examples soon...)

Besides being creative ourselves, let us always be vigilant to never allow for the stifling of the human potential.


 I recommend ingesting the brief video clips of Zen-Calligraphy artist

Alok Hsu Kwan-Han
http://zencalligraphy.com/Zen-Calligraphy.htm
http://zencalligraphy.com/Zen-Video.htm
 

good wishes

peter

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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Creativity Liberty art and freedom human potential philosophy yin yang zen http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2014/12/creativity-and-freedom-freedom-creates Mon, 15 Dec 2014 21:30:00 GMT
no time for creativity ??!! http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/5/no-time-for-creativity Finally …. a briefly creative day again

…hmmm  …. coming to think of it, that’s not really correct to say, is it, for someone who professes to live a creative life?!
Well, March and April were filled with busily organizing, packing and storing a household in preparation for a move later this year, and then several weeks of travel on an educational tour (in my natural health work). Not much time for camera work; or any work as in the sense of creating some finished art-product.
But isn’t some finite product actually secondary to the process of, a result of creativity? I do feel like I have been starved for a few weeks of being creative, for sure, and many of you will know the feeling of not being able to nourish our souls by following that deep urge to just sit down and write, or paint, or photograph, music …

And, here is the lesson I am reminded of, once again, in retrospect: during those last weeks I have indeed been creative, possibly more so than if I had been roaming with camera in hand. Simply by having the thoughts of doing things, making things, creating images, intrude every time I noticed something of creative potential, yet unable to pursue, my mind also remained free of being led onto any specific path of actual creation. I notice that ideas can flow with less intellectually imposed guidance, the imagination of creative exploration can soar more freely without the restraints inherent in the actual materials we normally use in our work.

ph1001a-inukchuk-at-morteratsch-web

inside Morteratsch Glacier, Switzerland

So, I will not fret again ( … yeah…right ! Ha ! ) when schedule and circumstances seemingly limit creative expression, but use the opportunity for mental exploration without the constraints and limiting physicality of tools and materials.
After all, the creative life is, firstly, a state of mind; just sitting on the porch and staring at the grass can be just as creatively artful as finishing a grand painting or poem

happily keep exploring
peter


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice Creativity Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, Zen busy camera work creative process imagination limitation mind photography schedule http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/5/no-time-for-creativity Tue, 01 May 2012 08:57:05 GMT
ShoDo - notes on wielding the Ink Brush http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/shodo------notes-on-wielding-the-ink-brush ShoDO

the Way of the Brush

 

The beginnings of Chinese – Japanese Brush-writing are thought to date back approximately 4500 years into ancient China. Chinese Characters, called Kanji in Japan, are considered the earliest development of a written language.

 

Simple lines and combinations of lines, such as seen in the ‘Trigrams’ of the I-Ching, were the early written representations of things and abstract concepts.

Understandably, it was foremost the immediate environment and concerns of daily life that were depicted in symbolized form and shape.

 

For example

shodo infosample1

were used, and from there the characters representing all aspects of life took various forms and shapes.

 

In ancient times, the characters were originally inscribed onto tortoise shell, stone, and bamboo, then also on metal-ware. Later, when the use of the brush was increasingly refined, and silk and natural-fibre papers (the term ‘rice’-paper is somewhat misleading, as rarely rice is used to make paper) were invented, calligraphers were able to develop numerous styles of writing the characters. Silk is thought to have been used as a writing and painting surface as early as 400 BC, paper was invented in China around the first century AD.

 

Through historical, cultural, and political developments, the forms, shapes, and meanings of Kanji changed and evolved into a rich language that is both a means of communication as well as, in its written form, a highly developed and regarded skill and expressive art form in Asian countries. 

 

To appreciate 

Oriental Calligraphy, and Oriental ink-brush painting, sumi-e, one may look not only towards its purely aesthetic impression, such as visual balance, harmony between the black and white of the space, or the form and shape of the strokes. Also, look towards its philosophical background, which is reflected in the technique and practice of writing, in its expressions, as well as in the meanings and the messages of the characters that have been passed on for several thousands of years, and many of which contain in their forms the essence of Oriental thought.

Thus, famous painters and calligraphers of China have taught brush work as an expression of the basic philosophical views of the East, Yin and Yang, the Tao, Confucius’ teachings, Lao-Tse, Mencius. 

On instructing the student painter and calligrapher the Old Ones would have taught (allow me to paraphrase): ‘ … when viewing a perfect painting, I see it is the Tao, not only a picture, this painter has left behind all cunning skill. … See things in your spirit, not in your eye; do not take outward beauty for reality. One’s brush strokes in writing should have strength, directness, and truth, yet be round and gentle, just as your dealings with other people ought be as virtuous. Of the six essentials to painting and calligraphy, such as brush, ink, motive, etc, the first essential is ‘spirit’. … ’ and so on, you probably get the idea.

 

As in Western written languages, the formation of Chinese Characters is based on certain structures and rules. Although various script styles of oriental calligraphic writing have evolved throughout its 4500-year history, those specific rules and principles in writing must be followed in order to create characters of both aesthetic as well as meaningful value. Personal styles of handwriting are nevertheless of innumerable variation, and may often even be beyond legibility, sometimes deliberately so, yet, still provide the essence of the art form to a high degree. A well-written Brush Calligraphy ought instill in the viewer something beyond its external form.

 

OA PH isshin tandoshoshin w IBG2787

isshin  - tandoshoshin     one heart/mind  - practice the way with unceasing effort

 

Bokuseki  -  ink traces

 

“ The trace of the ink is not merely beautiful script. It is something that emerges from the fundamental source of being. When you trace the script of a Character you must be of that original essence.” 

Nagaya Roshi

The practice of Zen encompasses more than sitting ‘meditation’ and study of the old texts. Zen, to become real, is to be practiced in and throughout all aspects of life. Extending the practice into work, community, service, physical and mental aspects of daily life, etc, are simple matter of fact. As such, the Zen Arts have, early on in history, become part of regular practice, as well. Chado – Tea Ceremony, Kyudo – Japanese Zen-Archery, Ikebana – Flower Arrangement, and many more. 

Bokuseki – Ink Traces, is the use of brush and ink as a means of spontaneous, intention-less expression of the mind. Awareness of the present moment flows through mind and body, brush and ink, onto the delicate and fragile recording surface of natural paper. 

With each brush stroke, moment by moment, without corrections being attempted after the fact, the mind teaches the mind.

Zengo are ‘Zen-Words’; usually short records of notes from the traditional teachings of now 2500 years of history. Often seemingly paradox to a superficial reading they serve as containers that can urge the mind of those who seek to understand to go beyond the purely intellectual meaning of the words. 

 

Simple ink written with a simple brush onto simple paper - vast sources of insight.

 

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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Buddhism Chinese ink Haiga Japanese art MiksangBokuseki Zen calligraphy contemplative haiku ink brush meditation mindfulness oriental brush shodo http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/shodo------notes-on-wielding-the-ink-brush Sun, 26 Feb 2012 21:17:43 GMT
Book Review – The Practice of Contemplative Photography http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/Book-Review-----The-Practice-of-Contemplative-Photography If you are interested in seeing your world clearly, the book provides an approach that is easily and effectively applied without having special prior training in either photography or contemplative practice.

Buddhist teachings may seem like a far-fetched approach to apply to photography, yet, Andy Karr and Michael Wood are able to make us realize how our mind both shapes and controls much of our awareness, understanding, and choices, but then just as well can also confuse those very same awareness and choices in many situations in our lives.

Whilst the Buddhist Way is a tool that enables us to explore a richer and more whole way of living in general, in the context of this book, the authors also draw on the long history and tradition of arts in the Buddhist teaching repertoire, and here we are shown a new and more liberated approach to image making.

In the end, we come away with a deeper understanding of our own photographic process, better pictures no matter the photographic domain of choice, and greater insight into the workings of our mind. The effects of contemplative photography will, no doubt, gratefully carry over into the remainder of our daily lives as well, and benefit not only ourselves, but also all and everyone else we come into contact with.

ph1516a-silhouette-pedestrians-on-bridge-4290

For those of us who have already had experience with some kind of contemplative practice but have slacked in consistency, reading this book may very well be the trigger to bring us back onto the path. For those of us who are new to and just exploring a life of mindfulness, it can solidify a practice and lead us into a greater life of insight and awareness.

GENTLY, WE ARE guided towards creating images devoid of showing what we imagined to see, expected to see, and without concern for technical skills and tricks. Not letting our seeing be influenced by the anticipation of an audience, judgment, or sales potential, we learn to let the image appear and be created without intellectual interference.

It is an automatic process of our mind, in the moment of perception, to place a label onto that perception. This instantaneously inhibits the continuity of pure perception of the world as it is in this moment. Furthermore, we see a sunset and immediately the photographic mind imagines some previously categorized labels, such as glowing-warm-orange, dramatic and sweeping wide-angle view, romantic. Thus, we end up re-creating some pre-existing label.

However, this book is about more than image making. Andy Karr and Michael Wood not only teach us photography without teaching camera work, they also teach us the Good Life without preaching right or wrong. Everyday is a good day, if we only allow ourselves to see mindfully.

PRACTICE assignments for going out with camera in hand are provided in a sequential manner as travel, work, and move through the book. Specifically, these assignments guide our mind to connect directly with the visual world. The flash of perception becomes our glimpse of living life in the present moment. Colour, light, texture, shape, line, pattern, are what our visual world is, nothing more, and are the building blocks of contemplative photography.

Seeing mindfully can become an integral way of how we live our daily lives, and living our lives artistically will increase our appreciation of the world as it is. We are promised that, if we find the discipline to engage the practice of contemplative photography, though sometimes frustrating, the rewards and pleasing results will keep us going. Being unplugged from the external world of constant stimulus, we may actually find the opportunity to make friends with ourselves. “Solitude is the home of contemplative mind and the space where creativity flourishes.” Solitude can be found in any place if we have the state of mind for it. Exotic places, grandiose Nature scenes, “beauty”, and “photogenic” motives are concepts to free ourselves from in order to see the world as it is, and are not required to practice contemplative photography.

TECHNICAL skills are not the focus of this book; yet, the authors manage elegantly to include concise and easily understandable guidance for the camera novice. Shutter speed, aperture, focal length and distance, focus and depth of focus, automatic and manual settings are all covered with due measure and, in the spirit of contemplative photography, with appropriate simplicity. Basic camera technique, and skills of working with the camera are included. It is, though, kept to a bare minimum of description, and will neither overwhelm nor waste valuable pages of the book’s focus on the contemplative practice of the art.

In the appendix topics such as camera choice, post processing in the digital area, and post-“processing” the images mentally and emotionally are touched upon; all in keeping with the aim of creating a clear image of the original fresh perception.

PLENTY OF IMAGES by Miksang photographers accompany the text to give us visual examples for studying what contemplative photography looks like in actual picture form.

This practice, in its entirety, is very much about sensitizing our whole being to be more perceptive to life as it happens moment to moment. We become more in touch with the joy of seeing as one of life’s grand treasures.

For all of us, reading, and putting it into practice, can be an inspiration to today go out and see not only the world as we never saw it, but also finding ourselves in the process.

peter
www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice creative process Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, Zen concept contemplative photography label miksang mindfulness stillness zen http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/2/Book-Review-----The-Practice-of-Contemplative-Photography Thu, 09 Feb 2012 12:53:36 GMT
sharing http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/1/sharing “ We study and educate ourselves not only for our own good, but for the benefit of all”

This is one of my favourite quotes; James Robertson Marshall, one of my early Natural Health teachers was a kind and gentle soul always concerned about making sure everyone, not only his students, would get the most from his experiences and teachings to take along onto their own path.

As we always grow on the visions, experiences, and achievements of others who have gone before us and have shared their learning in some way or other, here is a short list ( to not keep you clicking away for too long) of links to some of the resources that I have found inspiring and useful for my own creative path; more to be added over time.

http://www.lenswork.com/     Brooks Jensen publishes one of the best photography magazines, podcasts, articles, interviews; all fabulous insights and inspirations on the creative process

http://www.luminous-landscape.com/index.shtml     Michael Reichmann’s is one of the largest photography sites; tutorials, product reviews, creativity, arts, and more

http://kelbytraining.com/   Scott Kelby’s all things about Photoshop and Lightroom; tutorials in form of articles and videos

http://strobist.blogspot.com/     articles, examples, videos and tutorials on lighting and photographic tools and technique

psychologyforphotographers.com      very interesting short articles by Jenika on why and how people do what they do both as artists as well as clients and buyers

http://www.terryanncarter.ca/     former president of Haiku Canada, well known poet, teacher, and activist

http://www.haikucanada.org/

http://www.haikunorthamerica.com/

http://tobaccoroadpoet.blogspot.com/    Curtis Dunlap’s site with plenty of literature and poetry

ph1193a-chicadee-in-reeds-bw-web-0895

Looking at other photographer’s images is always a source of inspiration, of course. It provides direct examples and ideas that may be translated into our own process and projects. When we, however, move to other, seemingly unrelated, art forms for inspiration we can expand not only our repertoire of actual imagery but we expand our own vision, imagination, and potential right from within. While reading haiku, if I may use this as an example of my own experience, I cannot but notice the mind wandering and imagining scenes and contexts and ideas emerging for possible future images and projects to create. Not other haiku, but photographs. This is a process that not only adopts from the external stimulus, but involves one’s own mind to move creatively whilst actively (or is it passively?) engaged in another experience; a transfer or translation of sorts is required from taking in one art experience into creating another.  And so our all-shared creative process keeps on expanding and growing ceaselessly and almost inevitably simply through enjoying the endless stream of creativity around us.

and while I am at it, a few photography related quotes

This benefit of seeing… can come only if you pause a while, extricate yourself from the maddening mob of quick impressions ceaselessly battering our lives, and look thoughtfully at a quiet image… the viewer must be willing to pause, to look again, to meditate.  Dorothea Lange

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.  Ansel Adams

Consulting the rules of composition before taking a photograph is like consulting the laws of gravity before going for a walk.  Edward Weston

In photography, the biggest difference between an amateur and a professional is… the size of the wastebasket.  David Timms

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namaste

peter


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice creative process Haiga Haiku Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, art creative ideas inspiration photo resources photography http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2012/1/sharing Wed, 25 Jan 2012 13:17:23 GMT
Do you visualize before you press the shutter http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/12/Do-you-visualize-before-you-press-the-shutter follow up on previous post  from  30 Nov 2011
In previous ( date ) post you read about not being too concerned about the result, looks, and artistic value of an image beyond the moment of clicking the shutter. Avoiding intellectual discourse before and during the image making process allows for the awareness of perception as it arises in the moment. Pre-conceived ideas, concepts, ideas from past images lingering in the mind, and labels all interfere with the eye and mind perceiving things as they are. Images can thus be just as they are, fresh and childlike.
Not pre-visualizing can be a good thing
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Camera work can be for fun, for contemplative practice, earning a livelihood and paying the bills, to make pictures for others, for memories, for specific projects and intentions of use, and many other motivations may get us to pick up a camera and explore the world close and far.
With specific intention and purpose for an image being pre-determined, we can then guide the image making process accordingly toward the intended final image, and possibly towards providing an image that satisfies a customer and pays for our rent.
Pre-visualizing can be a good thing

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Gaur - a type of cattle; on the list of endangered species

In the beginning, the less images we have made, and the less images we have edited, developed, processed, the easier it is to not pre-visualize and anticipate an intentional outcome, as we do not really have much imagery experience for the mind to draw upon. Eventually, however, with more and more images in our repertoire of practice and experience, it will also become easier to be aware of the process that goes on in the mind as we walk with camera in hand.

We can practice both; we can know when one or the other is appropriate, and we can also become aware to notice when our mind drifts into one or the other at times when it may be inappropriate.
Soon, technical considerations of shutter speed, aperture, lens choice, etc., artistic deliberations on subject matter, composition, lighting, etc., all will become part of the intellectual mind blending  with the creative mind without either fencing the other in and limiting the possibilities of a free flow of ideas, insights, perceptions, and intentions.

When we pay attention to what we are thinking, what we are looking at in the view finder, why we make selections of framing, focus, composition, etc., our images become more and more a reflection not only of the world, but also of ourselves.
And it is those kinds of photographs that can touch us and the viewer; arrest the minds, and make us stop and linger in the image, absorbed by we do not know what.

wishing all good health, joyful thoughts, and plenty of fine pics for the New Year

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wishing all a serene, joyful, insightful, and healthful New Year

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

peter
www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice camera work Composition creative process Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, Zen art attention camera method empty mind gaur intention mindful New Year photography practice preconceived visualizing http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/12/Do-you-visualize-before-you-press-the-shutter Mon, 26 Dec 2011 15:13:04 GMT
Rules or No http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/11/Rules-or-No Rules or No

Camera work, as any work, can benefit from learning the basics. Basics include knowing the functions and effects of shutter speed, aperture choice, ISO, the multitude of combinations of these, lens focal length, tripod use, flash and other external lighting if desired, and others. A foundation in image making ought also teach the basics of composition, perspective, and how lens choice affects the image, use of focus and out-of-focus area; using light and shadow, shapes and lines, and colour and black and white in the image.
The technical and mechanical aspects of camera and lens are not subject to personal interpretation or opinion. They are simply the physical and optical facts that we all use and rely on the same way.
However, as soon as we move on to all the other variable options in choice of specific camera settings just before we click the shutter for an individual image, it all becomes a free game of opinion, interpretation, preference, like and dislike. Often, though, and especially during the early phase of our practice, these are based not in understanding and/or experience of how specifically those settings can alter the image. This makes the creative process a rather haphazard one. Haphazard in and of itself is not undesirable, but, if left unchecked, can lead to never reaching beyond a trial and error approach, which, though an important phase in the learning curve, prevents the development of being able to pre-visualize the image before clicking the shutter. Having an idea of the final image in advance is an important aspect of the creative process in general, not only in photography.

Then, to make the creative process a conscious, deliberate, and intentional one, we turn to learning composition, to learning how to tell stories with photographs by use of perspective, lighting, colour, placement of compositional elements, to learning how to look at and interpret images. Photo magazines deliver articles on composition every month, books are written, and courses taught plentifully on all these topics. Mostly, we learn of the ‘Rules of Composition’, such as Leading Lines, Fill the Frame, Rule of Thirds, Leave Space in Front of the Subject, Never use Wide angle Lens for Portrait, Always have a Focus. These ‘Rules’ are acceptable, though not necessary, guides for the first and early days of our path of image craft. Very soon, however, they can become hindrances and limitations to free creativity *if* followed and adhered to routinely.
For sure, in many of my images I use one or the other of these rules, but it is always a choice made case by case, image by image, whether or not a rule is supportive to the image vision and intent. Many strong images work exactly because composition, technique, or camera settings do not follow a common rule, because the frame was not filled and leaves emptiness to let the mind wander, because of not having leading lines towards to subject but causing diversion of interest and focus, because the subject is boringly smack centre, or shutter speed, aperture, lens, were chosen contrary to ‘normal’ recommendations.

Ultimately, all the variables have to come together to form the final image in accordance with the vision intent for the image. And those are the very creative core of which there are no fundamentally right or wrongs. Subject, vision, intent and purpose, the audience if any, the technical factors of camera settings, lens choices, lighting, timing, composition, and even where and how the image fits into the larger context of the long progression of images that came before and will come after, all contribute to the one question of whether or not an image fulfills and succeeds as a ‘great image’.
But beware …. as in so many areas of skills and life, one can only abandon rules and techniques when and after one has put in the time and effort of learning a rule or technique to abandon in the first place.
For example, as much as I dislike the term ‘Rule’ of thirds, I do apply it in as many images. Sometimes obviously, sometimes subtly but always as a conscious decision. Besides, there may be many layers of how to apply the somewhat recipe-like rules in any give image and I may find new ways of using leading lines, or patterns, or colour etc. for a specific photograph. We both may be following the same recipe, but still yours tastes slightly different than mine. That’s fabulous!

Rules or No
Well, how about we call them suggestions and options, learn them, use them, discard them, then use them again, and have them as one of many tools in our camera bag to be chosen wisely.

take good care and keep seeing pictures
peter


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Art practice Composition Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, aperture art camera settings composition creative process Creativity experienc intent interpretation ISO judging ar judging art knowing learning rules meaning message personal experience photography practice purpose of art rules skill technique vision http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/11/Rules-or-No Wed, 30 Nov 2011 12:49:58 GMT
follow up on Are you creative http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/follow-up-on--Are-you-creative With Rifqui’s comment ( thank you kindly for bringing it up) on mind, maybe there are a plentitude of possible definitions of ‘creativity’. Is it about ‘what’ is creativity? Or a matter of degree; some people are more creative than others. If so, what is the measure of ‘more’ or ‘less’? Maybe it is concerning ourselves with a result that conforms to some specific pre-defined outcome, standard, who’s standard?
Let’s look at that early-morning wardrobe thing. Sure, it may not be new clothing, or clothing that you invented yourself, and we may have worn it many times before. When we consider, however, that specific morning, the specific mood we may be in, the weather, for a woman maybe the make-up she has or ran out of, and the many other variables in combination, we come up with new choices each day.
When does something move from being non-creative to being creative. Is there a line between, and if so where and how and who draws it? What is the difference between being creative and being inventive, as in creating something new. If Claude Monet, and Renoir, are considered the first impressionist painters, inventors of sorts and creative, how creative then do we consider all subsequent generations of impressionist painters.
And let ourselves not be misled to think creative must equal skillful! Doesn’t matter if you can’t photograph and print like Ansel Adams or Imogen Cunningham, or draw like Leonardo da Vinci, you can move a pencil across paper so you can draw. Even creatively as in inventive. Haphazardly scribble a bunch of wobbly circles and pretty much we can assume that there has never been an exact same scribble ever before. Is that creative as inventing something new? Absolutely. Is it creative as in skillful? Not necessarily. Is it creative as in a human being creating something? Absolutely. Do we like and admire and stand in awe of this drawing? Not likely but who cares, that exactly is what the point is not.

This is not to disregard actual work scenarios in which you are drawing, working, photographing, or inventing for a client or any other specific pre-determined purpose, after all, we got to make a living. Concerning yourself with the result-for-a-specific-purpose for whatever reason and intention is certainly a valid concern, though a whole other chapter not to do with ‘creativity’ in and of itself. Here I am rambling about the nature of the human condition being such that we can not but be creative, no matter how much we may tell ourselves we are not, and how that understanding may apply to and moves us, our minds, our actions, work, practices, and our awareness.

mizu wa mina   ne tatsuru yama no   fukasa kana    all sounds of streams   has faded   so deep the mountains  Haiku by Taneda Santooka (1882-19400, Japanese poet, photograph/ink-brush calligraphy in hentaigana scripthaiga051b-mizuwaminate-2-allsoundsofstreamsfaded-ph156a-mountainclouds-3-27x20

mizu wa mina ne tatsuru yama no fukasa kana - all sounds of streams has faded so deep the mountains - Haiku by Taneda Santooka (1882-1940), Japanese poet, photograph/ink-brush calligraphy in hentaigana script

This awareness is, as I see it, the central idea around which creativity becomes manifest. It is the mindfulness, attention, conscious intent, even in the least of activities, that make the creative quality apparent and will, almost inescapably, lead to a richer experience. If practiced persistently, it can also become part of learning the skill component of the process, so we can put it to purposeful use, too, if desired.

Not to force and belabor a point construed, quite coincidentally just a few days ago, I came across another photographer’s mention of his father having taught him that any activity done with passion and pride was an art. Be it sports, painting or sculpture, running a business or being a parent. No matter what it is, when done with passion and conviction, it is art. Great father, I’d say.

So when you go out to photograph whatever you photograph, free yourself from seeing the final picture in advance. ( I’ll do another post, shortly, on why it is important to visualize the final image in advance – Ha !  go figure). Instead of going through the routines of our daily chores, photographing the same subject yet another time, or even when copying something that already exists, we may appreciate that this very moment, no matter how familiar it may feel, actually has never been before.
No matter how many times we have done something in the past, what we do in each and every moment is yet again anew.

It appears to me that shying away from defining creativity in specific terms leaves more room for actual experiences of it.

may your day be creatively mindful
peter
www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Haiga Haiku Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, art brush calligraphy Creativity haiga haiku inventive miksang mindfulness photography skillful http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/follow-up-on--Are-you-creative Mon, 31 Oct 2011 09:17:10 GMT
Are you creative? http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Are-you-creative- Chances are you heard it many times from many people:  the ‘oh no -  I’m not good at drawing/painting/crafts/music …   I’m not really a creative type …’

Well, sorry to burst your bubbly perception, (actually, not really sorry at all), but anyone can draw, anyone can paint, and anyone can make photographs. It requires no special skills to put paint on paper and canvas, to hold the camera up to a scene and click the shutter, to klimper-tinker some sounds from an instrument, and glue some paper together to make not whatever it is supposed to be but whatever it turns out to become; I’ve done all of those, so no making me believe otherwise.

Sure, you may say, but the point is about how well can anyone do those things! Hmmm, really? Does being creative inherently imply doing anything well? And certainly it does not only relate to the so-called arts. Any thought process, act of speech, and physical act is, of sorts, a creative one. Living one’s life, for that matter, each and every day, requires constant and unceasing creative thinking and acting. Anytime a decision is to be made it requires some kind of creative choice, no matter whether minor or major. Early morning I gotta decide which clothes to wear, what to eat for breakfast, leave now to work or 3 minutes later, cross the road here as usual or walk to the next intersection today, sign up for this course or that one, read this book or the newspaper or not at all and listen to music, which kind, pick up the phone or let it go to the answering machine …. goodness me, it’s endless creative options. Coming to think of it, we cannot even escape being creative if we wanted to.

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Yet, we still think we aren’t. Maybe because somehow we have come to consider creativity to narrowly only mean being ‘artistic’, as in … well, as in what? Maybe it is because we assume that being creative inherently requires some, often pre-judged, specific kind of accomplishment. Especially, of course, accomplishment in the eyes of others. Maybe it is because we have lost touch with what goes on in our minds all the time, and we don’t pay attention to what our moment to moment life actually requires from us and returns to us.

Here is a suggestion: be mindful of your choices, be they ever so minor and mundane, and pay attention to how and what you feel while making them. This is not about feeling ‘good or bad’ or judging those choices, but simply noticing a sense of the fact that there actually can be a conscious awareness of that moment of choosing to turn this way and not that way, to use these words and not those, to act like this instead of like that. Everything we think, say, and do is creative and will have consequences (take note).

Next time you pick up the brush, the pen, the camera, how attached are you to a particular outcome? Can you be creative simply for the sake of being creative? No worry the outcome, experience the process!

Told you! You are creative!

peter


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, creative process experienc experience interpretation judging ar judging art mind personal experience photography purpose of art http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Are-you-creative- Thu, 27 Oct 2011 18:11:51 GMT
Knowing http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Knowing 12 october 2011
following up on previous post from 10 october

So there, we like to label things. When first perceiving something new, our brain instantly asks ‘what’s that?’ and we just as instantly try to answer with a name of the thing. Naming and labeling helps us categorize, feel familiar with, make sense of the multitude of things and stimulus we receive from our environment.
Knowing the label we believe to know the thing. Knowing the name of a thing or of a person, we assume to have familiarity with that thing or that person.
Jonathan? Sure, he lives in that house at the end of the road, doesn’t he? Sure, I know him.
Yes I have read that article on the famine in Africa, I know all about it, it’s horrible.
‘Mom! I don’t want you to take me to Europe, I hate Europe. I know, Bobby was there last year with his parents and he hated it, I know what it is like there!’.

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But do we really? Can we know anything without having experienced it? Felt it and lived it? It is not a simple feat to distinguish between knowing and mere opinion, even be it ever so based on intellectual learnedness. We can read all we want and listen to as many teachers as we can find, unless we experience with our own bodies and mind our knowledge remains an intellectual construct. This is not to say such intellectual constructs can not be of real-life service. We do not need to jump or fall off the height of a 100 feet bridge to understand the consequences. Yet, even that is still only intellectual knowing and understanding.
Now how does all this relate to photography? Well, consider the last time you were at an art show, whether photography or other. The majority of works, even abstracts, were likely displayed along with a title. I am not referring to image-labels that simply provide a means of archival identification for the individual image, such as ‘Street Scene Paris # 5’, or ‘Yellow Flower’, but titles that say what the image is supposed to mean, to tell and inform, that provide the story.
Clearly, there are circumstances in which it is appropriate to add words to the image. Consider a photograph of a crowd in the street, clearly in uproar, yet the image does not provide any clue as to the reason for the uproar. In a documentary, journalistic context a title and possibly even lengthy words of explanation may be very appropriate. Were the image to be displayed as art, maybe for it’s purely photographic merits, however, how would a title influence our viewing and experience of the work?
We can consider various possibilities. If an image does not have the strength and clarity to express itself, can a title make up for it? Is it necessary for an image to ‘tell a story’ at all? Should the artist provide a meaning, an interpretation, along with the image? Why? Why not? Should we, as the audience and viewer, expect to be served a story and meaning along with the photograph? Every photograph?
When you look at images the next time, try to get a sense of how the mere reading of a label, a name, a title, influences the path our mind takes in interpreting and finding meaning in that work? How it shifts and directs the experience of the image. How it can subtly or not so subtly limit the relationship our own mind could create with the work.

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Viewing art is an intimate exchange and communication that takes place within ourselves. It has the potential to find meaning from within the context of our own personal life experience that each of us, individually, brings into this exchange. We all relate not only to art, but to people and their behaviours, and events and circumstances in all areas of our lives, in our own personal ways.

Thus, I also prefer to decide for each image individually and depending on the context of use whether a title is necessary, desirable, or limiting the potential for the viewer, and if a title is chosen, which purpose it may serve and why. The title becomes an integral part of the final work, after all, and deserves the same deliberation as the image itself.
enjoy the autumn colours with or without meaning
peter
www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, audience exchange experience interpretation intimacy knowing label meaning name personal experience photography title http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Knowing Wed, 12 Oct 2011 09:51:37 GMT
Looking or Seeing Images http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Looking-or-Seeing-Images 10  October  2011

Image and Message

There are various approaches to assessing the merits of a photograph. One can look for  technical aspects, such as lighting and exposure, shutter speed chosen, sharpness versus blurriness, tonalities. Then there are artistic choices such as composition and framing, use of colour and monochrome, in printing the choice of papers and presentation. The choice of the subject photographed itself, can be made part of deciding on the merits of the final image; some people may consider a photograph of a socially important issue to be, by mere selection as the subject matter, to have inherently more value or importance than, say, a photograph of a natural landscape; others may decide vice versa.

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As in so many areas of life, variable factors, circumstances, conditions, and timing determine case by case how to create, view, and relate to an image; rarely can we, even should we, use final and fixed statements about whether an image is good, great, or not worthy of consideration. It all depends and differentiation is a more appropriate approach when assessing a photograph, or art in general … and other people, for that matter, too!
Differentiation, for example, between images that are of journalistic and documentary nature,  intending to record and present our world as realistically as seen by the photographer; purely artistic purposes, abstract images, or those that show us that same world in a way we have not noticed before; private and personal work that may never be intended to be seen by anyone else. So many options for our creative work.
Then consider the countless and all valid reasons for doing what we do, even within each of the above mentioned types of image work:
we may create
- for our own satisfaction of creativity;  maybe we never intend the image to be seen by anyone else, but to satisfy our own growth as a human being, furthering our own creative process and learning;
- to understand our own life better; for example by observing ourselves, our emotions, hopes, desires, and anxieties, habits, during the process of creating, such as in the practice of contemplative photography ;
- possibly without even being interested in the final image, creating simply for the love of the process of working and experimenting with the gadgetry of camera work;
- for an audience  – to see what we saw   – to appreciate and show natural beauty or to understand a message we see or intend in the image, be it drawing attention to other people’s lives and circumstances; environmental messages; to change the world; encourage others to action, to think, to question;
- to receive approval for our own ego ( neither easy to acknowledge nor to get past … but maybe I am just talking of myself here … ), or to find approval for furthering our recognition as a photographer, artist, our business;

None of these are inherently better or more or less deserving or worthy than another. After all, who is to judge one’s fellow being’s creative process. What is valuable, however, is to become aware of our own intentions and purposes for being creative in a given way. Insights gleaned from such awareness can not only support and further our artistic path, but will naturally transfer to and inform all other areas of our daily lives to become more insightful and aware as well.
Here then are the questions: Does an image require a message? Does a photograph, in order to be a ‘great image’, need to convey a story? Does the viewer need an interpretation for or of an image in order to be moved by it?
Are there differences in the ‘value’ of images that depict a scene of Nature, a poor person in the street, or an abstract image of artistic merit? Can they each affect us deeply wether or not they tell a particular story or deliver a specific message?
Well, as for myself, I admit to rarely letting myself be pinned down to some final and one-size-fits-all definite statement … and this may give you a hint as to how I answer those questions for myself.
Might it be valuable to your own creative process, too, to become more clear about these questions ?

have a good camera day
peter

www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, creative process image judging art meaning message miksang mindful photography purpose of art http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/10/Looking-or-Seeing-Images Mon, 10 Oct 2011 08:54:49 GMT
to look or to see http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/9/to-look-or-to-see It is commonly known that, in most circumstances, people look at an image for only about 2 seconds and then wander on to the next, for another 2 seconds, and so on. I, too, can find myself rushing through image galleries when browsing the works of other artists on the net. There is just so much!
Considering the time, money, thought, and possibly lengthy conceptual visualization that we have invested in the creation of the image, this may be rather disappointing.
For sure, with the boundless imagery that is made to pass us by every day, it is unreasonable to think we could spend any length of time deeply viewing, exploring, experiencing every single image we encounter. Just think of the literally flashing-by imagery of commercials and the magazines with hundreds of similar looking images repeated with every week’s issue.
Yet, the instant and speedy consumption of imagery is maintained in environments such as galleries and museums, when leafing through photography books dedicated to exceptional image craft, and even in exhibitions of print competitions have I seen the audience strolling along the lines of prints no different than as if leisurely enjoying the local park, glancing at the prints merely in passing. In these environments, people have put themselves for the very purpose of looking at and experiencing the images on display.
Is it then a lack of interest in the potential depth of experience that a well created image can provide? Or a misunderstanding of the role of imagery as simply another goods of quick entertainment? Maybe there is a lack of having been taught, by example, the wealth and value of Arts in general? Is it just that more training and experience is needed in how to look at images, what to look for, what an image can provide, evoke, enhance in your own life?
Likely it is a combination of all of the above, and certainly, in any case, it is up to us, the image makers, to also supply some of the how-to of looking at, experiencing, and appreciating our image work.
Still, even without any intent of artistic experience, there will, occasionally, be an image that can cause a person to a sudden stop, a brief hesitation to rush on, a moment of looking again at some particular image.

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Is this a moment of recognition or of questioning? Maybe a glimpse of something not superficially apparent in the image? A sense of feeling an image, of resonating with it outside of pure consumption and entertainment?
In a Miksang- Contemplative approach to the process of seeing this moment might be considered a flash of perception; pure perception, that is, before our mind slips a label over it, or makes a concept out of the perception, or adds an interpretation by means of intellectual process.
There are many ways, of course, by which a person may sense a resonance with an image. It may be the subject depicted, the location, the emotion of a person in the image, or the type of scene that causes recognition, memory, familiarity, or also opposition, questioning, or like or dislike.
Mood, as purveyed through colour palette, light and dark and contrast, graphic elements and patterns, textures, lines and shapes in the image can all become sources of resonance for an individual viewer to experience the image on a more intimate and intricate level.
Often, the cause and reason for our being drawn to, resonating with, a certain image may not even become apparent. We simply sense a “… wow!! “ and  “ … ohhh I like this one … !!  … “ or we simply stand and absorb and would not be able to put into words what in the image actually makes us feel as we do. This is perfectly fine, maybe often even more than fine, as we do not need to intellectualize every experience in our lives. When an image can make us experience the silence within, it speaks of something beyond words.
We, being the image makers, might, however, do well to contemplate what in an image are the  subtle or not-so-subtle visual means to make people look beyond 2 seconds.
Chances are that in the process of such contemplation, we also enhance the understanding of our lives in general. After all, learning to appreciate art can lead to appreciating and respecting life and the world in its multitude of manifestations, including ourselves, and that, I have no doubt, will be of benefit to All.

ciao
peter

www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/9/to-look-or-to-see Tue, 13 Sep 2011 18:18:01 GMT
Silent Imagery http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/8/Silent-Imagery The world has become loud; and not just loud, but noisily loud. Consider how far out of town you need to get in order to experience the silence of a night without traffic, electric humming of appliances, air conditioners, furnaces, and the back ground vibrations of city life! Add the un-ceasing chatter in our minds and it is no wonder that many people, often especially kids, seem to be unable to sit without constant noise from music, TV, computer games, rarely radio, even be it only in the background. Silence becomes associated with emptiness. Emptiness being considered something inherently un-desirable. Not surprisingly so, in a culture in which all ‘things’ quantitative are valued more than most ‘things’ qualitative.

Combined with the constant fast-paced visual stimulation, mentioned in previous post, there is little space for the mind to find gaps into which it could retreat for rest. Let alone gaps into which it could possibly create something of its own accord. It is easier, so some believe, to have the external world supply, rather than to create from one’s own resources. It may be so, but likely only for the short run.

ph200a-bench-in-snow-storm-2-0881

Winter Bench in Snow Storm

The snow storm for sure was hissing around my head, neither does the almost horizontally blowing snow convey quiet, calm, un-moving silence, either … yet, the image provides plenty of space to rest. Not simply by leaving ‘empty’ white space, but by leaving just enough visible detail in that space to draw the mind into it with a minimum, barely noticeable, curiosity; and then leaving that space just empty enough to not provide anything for the mind to attach to and to label. Sure, the composition with the diagonal of the distant foggy tree line helps to lead the mind into that distance.  The eye usually first is drawn to areas of strong contrast, lightest area in an image, sharpest detail. So the contrast between the dark bench in foreground, likely the first visual perception for most viewers, and then the misty light back ground, too, has the eye move back and forth between bench and distance. The lucky wind direction which streaks the snow flakes from top left toward bottom right, parallel to the disappearing tree line, is a fortunate aid in leading the eye again and again into the empty distance.

There being nothing other than bench, snow, trees, without any clear story, meaning, interpretation, leaves the viewer without a perceived need to label, to put words and names upon the image. It leaves the viewer’s mind free to wander, to get lost, to stop for a while without noticing that it has stopped. An unexpected moment of experiencing the silence, not in the image, but in the mind.

How soulfully nourishing

peter

www.crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/


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crimsonbamboo@mac.com (peter vernon quenter - crimsonbamboo) Light, Ink, Photography, Miksang, mind noise photography silence stillness http://crimsonbamboo.zenfolio.com/blog/2011/8/Silent-Imagery Wed, 10 Aug 2011 17:03:57 GMT