I caught the last 85% of a program on BBC one (imagine… : The Secret of Life) where Alan Yentob looked into (I’d say investigated, but it was more of a chat with various people) the self help industry. One of the segments touched upon Zen buddhism, and it struck me (ever so slightly) that the concept of living in the moment, or mindfulness – the ability to notice what’s going on around you at a moment in time; whether it be savouring the flavour of the meal you’re eating, noticing the pattern of the shadows as the sun breaks through the bare winter branches, or noticing the multitude of birds that you can hear, etc. and so on – the ability to actually notice things is perhaps the kind of state which a photographer needs to attain to be able to recognise ‘the decisive moment’; to see a pattern, a beauty, a symmetry, a point of interest, that may connect at some deeper level with viewers of the resultant photograph.
Anyway. For some while now, I have been trying to look at things with ‘a photographer’s eye’, to think of things framed within a rectangle with a 3:2 aspect ratio (35mm film frame), mainly to see things, rather than just notice them… (As a side note, cycling to and from work every day makes me realise how many people may as well walk around with their eyes shut – and behave as if they are, crossing roads without looking, blocking cycle lanes etc.)
perhaps I should investigate this Zen stuff…?