The Minimalist Photographer
Minimalist, contemporary and experimental photography by Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson Posted on: October 20, 2011
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These are great, +Steve Johnson . I'm just curious, have you heard of Miksang contemplative photography? (http://seeingfresh.com/photo-submissions/texture) Your minimalist approach reminds me of the basic concept of Miksang. Do you feel there is a connection at all?
+Tif Holmes I haven't heard of the photographer or website before now but certainly understand the approach: http://minimalistphotography101.com/learn-to-see-photograph-a-thing/Something from my own website that probably comes closest to illustrating my own philosophy – it is mutable though and I've softened a little since I wrote it :) (I am no writer btw). It is not a direct answer but it comes close enough I think.
+Steve Johnson: "…why a thing and why not a common object like say, a coffee mug. The answer is simple, we have preconceptions about coffee mugs, about how they are normally viewed, and in what context"
Yes! THIS is the basic concept of Miksang…. taking photos that reflect how the eye/mind sees something without preconceived thoughts attached to it. I find it really fascinating how many photographers actually perceive of their art this way (at least some of the time), without having ever heard mention of Miksang. Miksang is a concept created by Buddhist meditation master Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, and I became involved with it primarily because it resonated with my own approach to photography. I don't always shoot without preconceived notions, of course, but I do often. And as often, when I am out with the camera, it is a very meditative experience for me.
The website link I posted in my previous comment is actually the site to Andy Karr's new book on Miksang contemplative photography. Another website is http://miksang.com/.
Anyway, all of this is to say that I really love your approach and I think that it is quite similar to Miksang in many ways which always gets my attention. :) I am going to share your blog post with some of my Miksang friends. Thanks!
+Tif Holmes The approaches certainly appear similar and the underlying philosophies are certainly related. I tend to regard myself as a lapsed modernist, I am very much about the photograph as opposed to the scene (the scene/object can literally be anything) it all deconstructs to different sizes and shaped blocks of tone. A good photographer sees the patterns. That is what I attempt to do. I think this is where we are most in agreement if I am not mistaken as this is what a texture is to a camera – different shades of gray – the causes, i.e. whether luminance, angles of incidence, weathering, aging, manufacturing process etc are of no interest or meaning to the camera.
Unlike the modernists I have no problem with limited dof, post processing changes etc., it is all grist to the mill in my opinion but that is another essay (:
Thanks for chatting with me about this. I've bookmarked and look forward to following your blog. I like your ideas.
+Tif Holmes To be honest I haven't thought much about this side of things for a few months now -it is interesting to revisit it -I have the website bookmarked and will spend some time on it when my brain is functioning. I am looking forward to reading more – I've been up for about 20 hours now which is why everything is a bit disjointed.
Thanks for making me think!
I hope you get some rest! Let me know what you think once you've had some time to visit the site.
+Tif Holmes Will do – definitely!
Good thing I took a break from work to find this interesting image and discussion. :)
+Lawrence del Mundo Thanks Lawrence – how's things?
+Steve Johnson Pretty good, Buddy. Have been busy with planning for a 3rd iteration of my website and some shoot. It's always a treat looking at your posts as it helps me train my eye.
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