Today, spend ten minutes photographing something beautiful. Breaking from the demands of your life to do this practice will be a moving meditation. Instead of sitting quietly, shutting your eyes and listening to your breath, keep your eyes wide open. As you would in seated meditation, clear your mind of everything else going on and commit to spending the next ten minutes fully focused on photographing something you find beautiful. There is always something beautiful close at hand. For me always satisfying subjects are flowers, plants, skies, cloud formations, sunrises, sunsets, bodies of water, fountains, gardens, mountains, trees, pets, animals, anything alive and growing.
This stone, for example, the patterns perhaps millions of years in the making is beautiful simply photographed in the sand. You'll be surprised how much beauty you can find on a small square of a sandy beach. Maybe there’s a car, a beautiful building, piece of furniture, or a sculpture you admire. Photograph your subject in its entirety and from different angles. Then make pictures of its parts. Don’t judge it. Pick something you like and enjoy it. People, of course, make most compelling subjects, but for this practice, don’t photograph people. If your subject is movable, try photographing it under different light sources, perhaps in the shade or in direct sunlight. Photograph it near a window, under a lamp, and somewhere with even overhead light.
Move a light around and observe how different your subject can look when the light changes.
When setting up your shot, remove distractions from your frame. Keep backgrounds uncluttered and simple. The blue backdrop in the photo of this shell is the lining of my jacket. If spending your time on something in nature doesn’t appeal to you, find something that does
More than likely, you don’t spend much time contemplating what you think is beautiful – few people do. You don’t need anyone else to tell you what's beautiful. You know what it is and you’ll know how to find it. Photograph your subject in its entirety and then make pictures of its parts. Don’t judge it. Pick something you like and enjoy it.
More than likely, you don’t spend much time contemplating what you think is beautiful – few people do. You don’t need anyone else to tell you what's beautiful. You know what it is and you’ll know how to find it. Photographing something beautiful is a moving meditation I do again and again. With my phone always in reach, I can pull it out when I need to center myself, when I feel irritated or am trying to accomplish something and hit a wall. Ten short minutes to photograph something beautiful and I come back refreshed, clear. Suggesting this practice to a friend to try in a similar moment is a gift you can offer. It costs you nothing, and by doing so, you may be giving a gift to yourself as well.