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The Yoga of Photography

For the past few months I have often found myself questioning why I take photographs and why I upload them to various social networks on the Internet. I have been feeling that I am just contributing to a deluge of images that flood the internet on a daily basis, a lot of them very good. The funny thing is, the moment I started having these thoughts, suddenly articles on this very subject seemed to be popping up in the photography magazines that I buy each month. I found it somehow reassuring that other people were having the same exact thoughts/doubts.

I have always felt that there was a link between the happiness I find in practising both yoga and photography. After reading the thoughts of other photographers I think I can break it down into three parts, although these parts are to some extent interchangeable and they are not in any particular order. However the last part has more obvious parallels with Yoga.

1. Firstly and perhaps most importantly It is an enormous amount of fun! I love the tactile nature of cameras and lenses and how they are constantly changing and evolving. There is still the same buzz you get when you import a new set of images, especially when you shoot in RAW, that you used to get with film. With my recent discovery of drone photography, this particularly applies since you are never really sure of what you have until you get your images onto your laptop and you suddenly get these amazing vistas open up on your screen. I have also recently, with the encouragement of a friend started printing very large copies of my pictures which is really wonderful to see on your walls and of course the images come to life so much more when they are huge and actually there in front of you.

2. Ecology, it almost goes without say that if you are a landscape photographer you care about the environment and the preservation of it. Whether you take a walk to your local park or hike for hours to some isolated spot. Once you are there even if you have pre visualised a shot you have to sit there and open up your heart and mind to see the landscape with fresh eyes so that you don`t miss a shot. Through this process you feel deeply connected with nature, it can be a profoundly moving and uplifting experience. This overwhelming sense of awe at the beauty and wonder of the planet we live on makes you want to share this experience with others. Through this communication hopefully more people will care about preserving what we have for future generations.

3. For the third part I have just taken a paragraph from an essay about Abraham Maslow's work. it seemed easier than me paraphrasing it and making a mess of it.

Art as a Means of Self-Actualization

“Art can also be seen as joining the “self” with the “other”; in communicating with his or herself, he or she can also communicate with others through the use of metaphor and allegory (devices which allow for free expression, and thereby represent a form of self-communication). This creates a union between the self and the audience, a dialogue that goes both ways simultaneously while creating epiphanies in both the subject (artist) and object (audience).”

Finally returning to the yoga analogy, no matter how many times you practise the same poses you experience something new each time, so it is with photography even if you visit the same place many times over, you experience something new and uplifting. Yoga and Photography have become so entangled with my sense of self, that I will continue practising for the pure joy of it for the rest of my life.

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