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Mindfulness and the Art of Photography


by Editor Kimberley
Edited and published by Yvette Depaepe, the 8th of July 2022


Mindfulness is described as a state of awareness, the ability to be fully aware of where we are and what we are doing; to be actively attentive; perceptually and cognitively focused on the present moment.

The connection between mindfulness and the potential to make extraordinary images may not be immediately apparent.


'sun salutation' by Christine Frick


Often photographers spend a lot of time focussing on the technical elements of the craft. Choosing the “right” equipment, camera and lens, deciding on the correct shutter speed, aperture, ISO etc. Sharpness is an obsession in certain genres such as in wildlife photography. When we see an image we like, we may instinctively look for the technical shooting information. There are thousands of videos on photography channels about the technical stuff, camera reviews, lens reviews, how-to videos on capturing sharp images, use of histograms, post-processing techniques etc. AI software programs now even blur these lines and take technical quality to even new heights by sharpening soft images, removing noise from improper exposures, and increasing resolution on overly cropped images. The power of Photoshop and Lightroom to create digital images or art is only limited by your capacity to learn and tolerance for time spent sitting in a chair working on a computer.  


Yes, you must have a good understanding of how to realise technical quality (TQ) if you are to create remarkable or unique images, but TQ is not the whole picture. If you’re wondering how all this translate into developing your “art of seeing”, well, it’s simple, if your mind if preoccupied thinking about all the technical stuff or shooting an image with the view that you can “fix it later in post”, then your mind and eyes are less likely to be open to actually seeing the image you want to make verses creating an image after the fact. 

The development of this more creative aspect of your work may be unintentionally blocked by mental noise and that’s where mindfulness can come into play.


The more basic elements of photography that are linked to mindfulness and perception or “the art of seeing” are light, colour, composition, and subject.

 We’re familiar with them because these are some of the criteria that images get evaluated against during the curation process. There’s been some discussion recently about this in the Forum section of 1x. Curation is a whole other “subject matter”, and this article isn’t going to wade into the debate about whether subject matter should be included as an evaluation criterion in curation.


The discussion harkened me back to a meeting I attended years ago in my professional life. The only decision that I recall being made was, that after two days of rousing debate, we could finally agree that we couldn’t make any decisions because we couldn’t come to a consensus on the definition of consensus. Clearly, mindfulness could have helped that discussion move along in a more productive manner.

With that said, its common and natural to experience a creative block at some point in this craft; that your creative juices appear to have just stopped flowing, blurred like that stream shot with a super long exposure. We hunt and peck like birds searching for something different to photograph, or we default to shooting the same subject matter over and over and over (and over). 


Mindfulness practice teaches us to slow down, to be in the moment; to stop thinking and just be. To observe, without applying the lens of interpretation, not filtering what we see through our egos, to be non-judgemental.


The digital world is binary, but the real world isn’t comprised of just 1’s and 0’s, black and white, good and bad, 1% or 99%, publish or reject.

 Seek to develop an appreciation for the uniqueness of each moment by fostering an awareness of the five senses: sight, sound, smell, taste, touch. Consider common objects with fresh eyes, look for shapes, textures, contrasts, colours, space, lines, etc. Learn to slow down, make time to absorb the world around you Consciously open up your mental aperture, dial in single shot, and most importantly…be kind.


If you are interested in exploring the benefits of mindfulness in your photography, consider checking out some of these resources:


* Wherever You Go There You Are by Jon Kabat-Zinn
* Photography and the Art of Seeing by Freeman Patterson
* Mindfulness in Photography :
* 5 Mindful Photography Exercises You’re Not Creative Enough To Try [MayBe]  :


Enjoy these lovely, mindfully selected images from our members on 1x.


'Walking in the sky...' by Alexandr Kukrinov



'Room for Thoughts' by Nanouk el Gamal - Wijchers



'Alena' by Benny Pettersson



'Rhythm' by Nel Talen



'Wheat' by Peter Krenek



'giallo' by Luciano Caturegli



'A lotus' by Yanny Liu



'Beachhouses' by Elisabeth Wehrmann



'Behind the pillar' by Greetje van Son



'Music of Light' by John Fan



'Silence' by Huibo Hou



'bench' by Marei



'stand alone' by Rofl Endermann



'***' by Przemyslaw Kruk



'notihng more to say' by Harry Lieber



'Red & yellow' by Ales Krivec



'Simple minds' by Andreas Agazzi



'Life in Blue' by Alfonso Novillo



'Meeting room' by Luc Vangindertael (laGrange)



'Dancing in the rain' by Malaïka Weber



'Flower of Paradise' by Bess Hamiti



'Feeling tired' by Piet Flour



'The cat' by Izabella Végh



'Stay away from the light' by Don T.



'Contemplation facilities' by Jeroen van de Wiel



'Moments of Transition' by Andreas Agazzi



'Seeing double' by Jacqueline Hammer



Thank you Kimberley, this article is very interesting. I will do my best to become a mindful photographer from now :-)
Great article! Wonderful selection too! 🙏
Beautiful, thoughts evoking article with excellent images to enhance it. Indeed, there is a meditative element in photography which you highlighted so well. Thanks so much Kimberly for sharing it with us and thanks to Yvette for being there.
Thank you for the feedback Arnon.
Very interesting... articulated and true. I keep repeating to friends and acquaintances that the day of a photographer is a solitary day, not by design but by nature. Thank you.
How true is that Francisco.
Thank you very much for selecting my photograph to this collection!
Great article and a beautiful collection! Thank you Yvette and Kimberly! I feel honoured to see one of my pictures in this article. Thanks once again!
Indeed, photography is, for me, connecting my inner with the world around me. That’s why I can only be on my own. My best photos had the best connection between these worlds at that time, but also when I was postprocessing
Ho letto l'articolo con grande gioia, veramente è molto azzeccato oggi, come oggi della fotografia. Quando infiniti di fotografie scattiamo al giorno, con tutti strumenti a disposizione. Viene in mente il pensiero di Robert Capa: se avessi dovuto fare attenzione della tecnica, non avrei scattato neanche una fotografia in vita mia.
So true Izabella, thanks for your thoughts.
Grazie mille, che avete scelto anche una mia fotografia. Per me un grande onore.
There I can find many of my thoughts again. You have brought it to the point! Thanks also for the great image selection.
Thank you Stephan, I very much enjoy your images, congratulations
There I can find many of my thoughts again. Thank you for the image selection. Diu have brought it to the point!
very impressive series and interesting approach of photography. compliments to the team
Thank you Piet, Cheers
"Photography is in direct proportion with our time: multiple, faster, instant. Because it is so easy, it will be more difficult. (...) Only a vision - that is what one must have." [Ernst Haas]
Beautifully written Kimberly. There is a lot to contemplate here... and your selection of images serves as a brilliant illustration that helps one appreciate your points. Very zen! Looking forward to your next piece.
Thank you so very Michael
Interessante articolo e immagini !
Grazie Gloria!
Excellent article, intriguing and informative, well done Kim!
Thank you Peter!
Agreed with everything said, except that "To observe, without applying the lens of interpretation". All the photos listed above really are seeing through a different eye that others largely fail to notice, but definitely involves applying one's own lens of interpretation, the choice of the view, the moment, the viewing angle, scene cropping, lighting, exposure, and so on! Without one's own mindfulness, pictures are just a copy of the world via which viewers may find their own mind and heart but not those of the photographer..
Very good point indeed, thank you for your contribution to the discussion. Cheers!
Thank you so much for this great and wonderful article.I am proud to have made a small contribution to the many expressive pictures with my picture,many thanks Yvette and Kimberley
Rolf, you have a lot of wonderful images under your profile, Congratulations on your excellent work.
Thanks for your appreciation, Rolf !
Excellent article and wonderful photos, make me feel so good! Congratulations!
Thanks! Kim
One of the best articles! Thanks!
Thanks so much John, K
Congrats on a great display of awesome photos and article
Thank you for this very interesting article and the selection of superb photos.
Such a great article leading us listen to our own mindfulness, open mental aperture, to capture the unique pictures. Really appreciate Kimberley and Yvette!
Thanks a lot for your appreciation, Yanny Liu ;-)
Grazie per l articolo molto interessante. Complimenti agli autori scelti, ammiro 👏👏
Susi PRO
Extraordinario artículo y selección de imágenes!!
Thank you for this excellent article and so many beautiful images.
Great article and images...Congratulations...
I am again very pleased about reading such a great article in 1x! Thank you very much for including photos from my collections, as always highly appreciated. Best wishes Kimberley and Yvette! Cheers, Andy
Thanks to you for your appreciation and sharing your work on 1x, Andreas. Cheers, Yvette
What a great article Kimberley! I'm glad to learn about midfulnis and the photo's you choose for this project. It inspire me e lot! Thank you for choosen one of my photo's for this. I surtenly gonna reed your tips. Have e wonderful mindfull weekend.
So happy you found it interesting, i enjoyed looking through your gallery very much, thanks for sharing your wonderful images.
Loved the mindfulness article, it refreshes the photographic perspective, well done Kimberly, beautiful images congratulations to all photographers
Thanks Anita, happy you enjoyed it!, Kim
Very interesting a nd important article and wonderful photos! Thank you for sharing.
Thank you Gabrielle,
Thanks a lot for this most interesting article and great choice of images, dear Kimberly. Love it ... Have a great weekend ahead...
You're very welcome Yvette!.
Beautiful article with awesome photography. Thank you for the resources, I will check those out. I had read before the first one and appreciated it very much. To slow down is the one thing that is so difficult with our lifestyles and yet so important to achieve.
Happy to know you enjoyed the article Marie. Cheers, Kim
Another great and inspirational gallery and article !!!!
Thanks Colin!
Great article and photo gallery!
Thanks Ludmila!
very good report and very nice photos! Thank you so much!
Thank you Ruth!