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


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..