Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Day III Moments and Visual Haiku: moments and people

little things on the steps
On the third and last day of this workshop our teacher explained that there are three similarities between miksang (photography) and haiku (poetry):
1. Subtle resonance. We come to a more subtle layer in ourselves, our heart resonates with something and our heart becomes also more subtle. Subtiety and heart level are inextricably linked with each other.
thown away orange peels
2. Immens directness. On the second day during writing a haiku we worked with senses which experience direct perceptions. Miksang is also about sense perceptions, the contact with your own body: what do you feel, smell or hear?
perceiving a moment of one of the participants
3. Looking and seeing. Looking is considered a skill aspect: we are looking all day around, looking is a means. In Miksang contemplative photography we are training ourselves in looking in a more open-minded and unbiased way which will lead to seeing (wisdom aspect). Seeing is an experience, which is also imbedded in our language: "I'll believe it when I see it." Insight and heart connection are also part of seeing. A haiku is also about insight, experience and heart connection.
fellow participant drinking tea
The morning of the third day we started walking a block around our teacher's apartment with the same assignment as yesterday: perceiving moments with leaves on sidewalks for just about half an hour. The assignment for the whole morning was perceiving moments with people. It can be quite daunting to do that in the wild, so we started practicing on each other. First as a group and later in pairs.
taking pictures of each other
Above is an impression what it looks like when we were photographing each other. The pictures of the hands are taking when we were split up in twos.
Marielle's hands
Marielle's hands
Annette's hands
Annette's hands
After lunch when we were a bit more comfortable with this field, we spread out either photographing moments with leaves or people.
kite surfer and friend
kite surfer and friend
As I wrote before I am still not in my comfort zone photographing people, especially in the streets. Also, jumping in front of someone with your camera is so not Miksang. I need to feel comfortable looking at people without them thinking I want something of them and secondly still make contact with them from my side to establish that heart connection, that little jump of my heart when I see something that takes my breath away even for a tiny little bit.
footstep filled with sea foam
footstep filled with sea foam
I am afraid it didn't really happen with me, photographing people, but I did see some other moments. You meet moments or you don't and I sort of didn't that afternoon.
a leaf, wetness and scratches
How about you, do see moments during your day?

Saturday, 18 October 2014

Day II Moments and Visual Haiku: other moments

red pen, iPhone and a booklet
I split up day II in two blogposts because there is too much to show to do it all in one (read part I over here). Apart from practicing writing haikus, we went out to photograph moments so we put our intention on moments. One doesn't go hunting for visual haikus, they just emerge out of nowhere.
broken red stick in bits
Yesterday we explored moments in sand, today we started with exploring moments on the street and with leaves in particular. Fallen leaves portray rather literally decay in nature.
I had a lovely day today and I thought I had it all figured out: I thought I understood what the difference was between that and moments.
broken red stick and a leaf
However, looking back at my selection of 15 photos together with the other pupils, I realized that was not the case. There were a lot of that pictures, which I will not show here to make it not confusing for the reader. And I had not shot one visual haiku, unfortunately.
black bird
The components of a visual haiku would be:
1. heaven principle: the space. In yesterday's case that was sand. 
2. earth principle: the moment
3. man principle: something extra, something unexpected or funny
pigeon stepping on a large pattern-like square
Like I said, I didn't come across any visual haikus, but I wrote another one:
the musician is playing a tune
autumn leaves on the ground
the bench feels hard
white dog looking at something 
woman on balcony

footstep in sand
This footstep is almost audible according to our teacher.
plastic cup and leaf 
leaf in sunlight 
white plastic in a field
Today was interesting, fun and instructive all at the same time. Writing a haiku is definitely something one can train, photographing a haiku is a totally different matter.