Mindful photography challenges us to pay full attention to what’s in front of us. A form of working or walking meditation, it can help us establish a more direct connection with ourselves. When we can simply and clearly encounter the present moment, it calms our endlessly arising torrent of thoughts.
Our moods, our expectations, what we are feeling in our body at any given moment, all deeply affect how we experience the world. A camera can be used as a tool to pierce through those projections and help us encounter our lives more directly.
What camera should I use?
While any image capture device can be used to practice mindful photography, there are certain qualities that will increase the chances of success.
While smartphones may be the most obvious choice, since they possess extraordinary technology and are with us most of the time - turning them off is a good place to start. It’s difficult to encounter the present with something beeping and vibrating - constantly calling for our attention.
Use an actual camera that allows manual override. Cameras also have a particular way of viewing the world, with automatic exposure being the worst offender.
Use a fixed focal length lens - not a zoom lens. If you only have a zoom lens, choose a focal length and stick with it for at least a day at a time.
Consider an old film camera.