Meditative Photography in the Garden
“The mind is like a river. The thoughts are like the various droplets of water.
We are submerged in that water. Stay on the bank and watch your mind.”
These words by Indian yoga teacher and author A. G. Mohan have guided photographer Christopher Phillips’s meditation journey over the last four years. As is often the case, Christopher’s introduction to meditation was borne of suffering.
Whilst living in South America Christopher contracted Meningococcal, a nasty bug that would debilitate him every few months. His brain would swell and he would be unable to function; he couldn’t even focus enough to read a book! After fighting the bug for years without success he returned home to Australia, where he was diagnosed properly and blasted with extremely powerful antibiotics. They didn’t fix it. “I tried all these western medical practices that didn’t work.”
I ended up going to a GP who specialised in Ayurvedic medicine. He recommended meditation,” he says.
After just one week of meditation Christopher noticed improvements. “I could focus better, and things weren’t as dull. After about three months of meditating nearly all my symptoms were gone,” he says. “In comparison to the deadness I was feeling before I began to feel sharp and clear, and more attuned to what was happening around me.”
Christopher soon began noticing the connection between his meditation practice and his photography work. “To be good at photography, it really helps to be very sensitive. To be sensitive to the world around you it really helps to be quiet. When you become still, your ability to stay with what’s in front of you becomes much easier,” he says.
It’s this connection that Christopher is hoping to share and communicate with others. He’s begun facilitating meditative photography workshops at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney. The workshop leads first time and seasoned meditators through easy-to-follow techniques to enhance the photographic eye by stilling the mind.
The location of the workshops is very important to Christopher:
Taking people out of overstimulated environments and into nature is incredibly powerful,” he says. “Nature is a much subtler stimulation, and people’s ability to focus is heightened.”
Christopher reckons that infusing meditation and photography can encourage new ways of seeing – breathing new life and depth into images. “Learning to intensify this focus through a process of relaxing our minds not only enhances our level of contentment while practicing photography but also leaves us feeling refreshed and intensely alive,” he writes on the Meditative Photography website.
The workshop will lead participants through simple mindful meditations. These are then used as foundations to expand participant’s perceptions and awareness of the three core photographic elements: Light and shadow, colour, form and texture.
About the Workshops
Date: Saturday 22nd October, 2016
Time: 9:00am – 12:00pm
Location: Royal Botanic Gardens, Sydney
For more information and bookings check out the Meditative Photography website
About Christopher Phillips
Christopher has worked in both the commercial and fine art photography fields for the past 16 years. His work has been published throughout Australia, Europe and the US. His fine artwork has been exhibited in Sydney, Melbourne and London.
Christopher’s fine artwork is an exploration of the human condition. His particular interest is in the meditational states of mind, how they are reached through the practice of meditational art forms such as meditative photography and what we derive from them in terms of heightened perception, mental clarity and contentment.