Landscape photography is good for the soul. It gets us out at times when we would otherwise be blissfully unaware of the beautiful play of light surrounding us. However, at a much deeper level, it is a path that guides us to a state of mind where we are able to more fully appreciate the present moment, it brings ‘being’ and ‘doing’ together, enriching our awareness of ‘now’. So many of us rush through our life, always searching for something better, always seeking something more, in a self-imposed state of constant dissatisfaction. We assign so much importance to our imagined future that the present just flies past without us noticing. There’s only one reality, and that is the present moment; the past and the future are at best, mere mental fabrications.
Buddhists have long understood the power of awareness of the present, and more recently, the concept of ‘mindfulness’ has made a huge impact in clinical psychology. If we simply allow more time to imbibe the present, to heighten our sensory awareness, then our stress levels drop, our lives are enriched, we become more emotionally positive and make our first steps towards the ultimate prize: self-actualisation.
Photography encourages profound visual awareness, if we are able to concentrate on our surroundings, then we are better equipped to visualise and compose; to create compelling imagery, we are required to be ‘mindful’. Could it be, that our heightened experience of the moment, as a consequence of our photography, leads to an increased level of self-fulfillment? I believe so.
We can also consider this relationship from another angle. Those of us who are more naturally able to enjoy the moment, able to leave the stresses of everyday-life behind, might be at an advantage when we venture out with our camera. Freedom from such distractions and a laid-back disposition enables us to concentrate our efforts towards maximum creativity.
So a care-free constitution promotes a more engaging experience, and facilitates the heightened awareness encouraged by the photographic process, which in turn, may even lead to a more enriched and care-free life. Powerful stuff.
I was mindful of the moment when I made this dawn image of a dead-calm Llyn Padarn coated in a layer of rolling mist. How fortunate, to spend time immersed in such sublime surroundings; landscape photography is certainly uplifting, perhaps even life-changing.