Seeing with the Eyes of the Heart
Contemplative Photography, part five
We return to our occasional consideration of the insights of Christine Valters Paintner, author of Eyes of the Heart: Photography as a Christian Contemplative Practice. Paintner helps us learn how photography can become a contemplative practice, allowing us to “see” in different ways.
Today, and the picture I’ve put at the top of the post illustrates this, we consider the concept visual discernment, which comes to life through the practice of framing.
Contemplating the act of framing in photography can help illuminate the ways we need to frame our own lives, in terms of both the stories we tell and the ways we spend our energy. Paying attention to the decisions we make with each photograph can illuminate our own interior process of listening and making space. When I am receiving photos, am I so eager to “capture” everything around me that I miss being fully present in the moment? Or are there moments when I remember that this is a practice of saying both yes and no, of not “taking” everything around me but waiting to receive, to see what feels right and true.
Here are some photos from a recent foggy morning in the country where I live. I doubt I’ve ever felt — as I did on that morning — that so much was “given” to me in terms of framed images to receive, along with an amazing light that illuminated everything at which I pointed my camera. And all within a few short miles from home!
One of my favorite images here is “Almost Home.” As I was getting ready to drive out of a little village near me into farmland, I noticed that the sun was highlighting a farm in the distance through the canopy of trees over the bridge in front of me. A glorious destination emerged, just a short distance away. A short span lay between me and glory. Almost home.
Click on each picture for a larger image.