There are a couple of views in my direct surroundings I give my attention to consciously. And to which I return ongoingly – simply because it is there and easy to access.
One is the view from my bedroom, as you see here above.
Returning to the same place with deliberate attention and expressing one subject/situation with a creative discipline is called ‘motif’. In impressionism, which comes close to the practice of Miksang Contemplative Photography, as for its directness and prejudiced seeing and the creative expression of seeing things as they are zien, a motive was often practiced, often with nature.
- To experience deep looking and a deeper connection with what-is and with oneself.
- To wake up.
- To discover joy and the endless beauty and magic of the day-to day life as it is.
Every morning I open the curtains. And always I take some time or longer the time to take in my visual perception of the subject matter. Short or longer; with conscious attention, long enough to really see it, relax into it and enjoy – as how it is always different.
Sometimes spectaculair clouds, at other time more flat surfaces of blue and white and grey, or fog, or simply grey flatness. Always different. Sometimes heartfelt moved as it is always there.
A motif’; here this means a view I spend my mindful attention to, in all changing and unchanging circumstances, year in year out, throughout all seasons.
For me, a landscape does not exist in its own right, since its appearance changes at every moment; but the surrounding atmosphere brings it to life – the light and the air which vary continually. For me, it is only the surrounding atmosphere which gives subjects true value. C. M.
The French painter Claude Monet painted many motifs during his life. One day he noticed that as the day passed the light had changed his subject as how he started his painting in the morning, and set up a second canvas. This first experience led to many motives; he returned to the same subject/view regularly under various circumstances of weather and light and seasons.
I thought that two canvases were enough, one for dull weather, one for sunshine I thought that two canvases were enough, one for dull weather, one for sunshine. But soon hereafter as I started registering the sunny moment the light changed; two canvases did not suffice to represent a true impression of nature. C. M.
His passion for perception
Many know Monet as the fantastic painter of waterlillies. The main motif in the last years of his life. les wel-known is that he had a keen interest in unprejudiced perception, in his personal connection to the now-moment. One way he trained himself: as he liked to drink wine he requested the bottle to be served without label, so he had no acces to any pre-knowledge and creating the opportunity to experience drinking in an open manner, experience the full taste unfiltered.
A visual mnemonic
Opening the curtains has not only become a subject matter for a motif to take pictures, the very act itself has become a mnemonic: a reminder to notice in an awake and conscious state of being, enjoying what is there without knowing what is there, without the filter of how I would like to see it, beyond my boredom, beyond my photographic ambition. Into the expansive and rich nature of pure perception and appreciation.
Not taking it for granted ‘because I see it always’, but what really happens is that in high speed a judgement has already been formed so fast I don’t even notice it and so I do not look any further, or I am fully absorbed in thoughts and hence just do not notice it al all, or simply am inwardly focussed on a topic or worries, and meanwhile manage to navigate myself from place A to B.
On the outside corridor of the appartement complex I live, which I walk on back and forth many times daily:
In a curve on my way to the beach boulevard:
The same view as a fun practice to visually and perceptually:
- without naming or labelling it
- without wanting to change it
- without associating
really see the view. As if for the first time, every time.
Connecting myself with what-is, as-it is, at moment, all the time. By simply appreciating the same view, the same subject matter, again and again the beauty, vividness and magic of the everyday world opens up.
To complete the experience and fully engage in the joy of awake and clear seeing, training myself to become more and more skilled in awake looking and seeing; I get out my camera and take a picture.
©Hèlen A Vink, 2011 - 2016 Zandvoort