Contemplative Photography

Being in nature with my camera brings deep serenity as I contemplate the true nature of what is appearing through my camera lens as Life.  For many decades I sought solace from the tension of the world and the thoughts in my head by picking up my camera and heading outside, especially at sunrise and sunset.  I feel calm, centered, and full of joy in the solitary and sacred practice of contemplation with my camera.

Images copyright 2011 – 2026 – Anita White Avent

By simply observing Life through the camera’s lens and perceiving the light of vision, I’m transported out of my mental imaginings and back to this moment, to what is appearing, to this particular beingness as Anita, to the appearances of Mother Nature.

Practicing photography and contemplation together is being present with what the human eye and camera are seeing and being present in the body with what is appearing through the human eye as it sees through the camera’s lens.

With a contemplative photography practice, I become one with the camera and lens, allowing the lens to capture and be imprinted with this holy instant – unifying subject, object, seer, and lens as one undivided holy moment.

The term Contemplative Photography was coined by students of the Tibetan Meditation master Chögyam Trungpa. It is also known as Miksang, or “Good Eye.”

        As described by Andy Karr & Michael Wood…

“The root meaning of the word contemplate is connected with careful observation. It means to be present with something in an open space. This space is created by letting go of the currents of mental activity that obscure our natural insight and awareness.”

and as described by Thomas Merton…

“Contemplation is the highest expression of man’s intellectual and spiritual life.   It is that life itself, fully awake, fully active, fully aware that it is alive.   It is a spiritual wonder.   It is spontaneous awe at the sacredness of life, of being.   It is a vivid realization of the fact that life and being proceed from an invisible, transcendent and infinitely abundant Source”.  Thomas Merton – Seeds of Contemplation

Here, photography is soothing, relaxing, and being as a sense of ease, of impersonal awareness, aware of the union of a human eye and camera’s lens.