stop, look & listen

I live in an urban environment and you might think there’s not much to photograph in a built-up area, but sometimes as a way of having a break from work I take my camera out on a mindful stroll. So, I was walking around the block one lunchtime, when I decided to stop and really look at some apparently nondescript greenery I’d just passed.

As I became more still and took a few moments to get in touch with my senses, I began to tune into the detail around me. I was taken with the water droplets on the leaves, particularly this one which looked like a snow-globe, especially close up – a rain-globe! How lovely to find something so tiny and perfect in its own way just sitting there, waiting to be seen.

sit down next to me

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This image came to me while I was having my coffee break in a quiet corner off the busy A6. It was sunny and warm enough to sit outside (I know – slightly unusual in Manchester in March) and read a book for 20 minutes. Book of choice was 'The Little Book of Contemplative Photography' by Howard Zehr and I found this exercise which I just had to have a go at – so I dug out my phone, which doesn’t have the best camera but hey.

The exercise invited me to find an image and really see it – in other words – examine it, describe it: the shapes, the light, what it reminds me of.

Next, he suggested I became aware of how I feel when I look at the image, noting any emotions that come up for me.

And finally, what I think – in other words noticing the thoughts, interpretations and insights that come to mind when I look at the image.

So this is what I saw – a reflected chair, almost fluid-looking.
I felt happy because it reminded me of liquid, the sea and holidays.
When it came to thinking, I thought it was a pleasant surprise to see an object which normally seems so solid and rigid, looking so soft and flowing.

So, if you fancy a creatively contemplative coffee-break – dig out your phone..