Photography as a meditative practice

It is morning. The birds are chirping. The sun shines through the window and the curtain, leaving a soft light in the room. A plant casts a shadow on the wall. There it is, this beautiful moment. Right now. I breathe in and bring the camera up to my face and look through the viewfinder. I exhale and pull the trigger.

In Zen, there is a term called Shikantaza, which means “just sitting”. This is an important form of Zazen. It addresses the mindset of the Zen practitioner, who should simply sit in conscious awareness.

The intention is not to think about sitting, but to “become one” with sitting. Thoughts are to be released, not suppressed. Stopping the escape from the present moment in everyday life is an important element of Shikantaza. If we now apply this philosophy to photography – and even art and design – we can see many parallels.

Photography is also about becoming one with the camera and not thinking about which is the perfect subject or why. Thoughts are not to be suppressed, but to let go. It’s not about shooting the “perfect” picture or paying attention to composition or capturing something that others might find likeable. Let it all go.

There’s really not much you can say about Zen, because Zen has to be experienced. And this is an approach.This absolute turning to the here and now – As a meditative practice while photographing.

© Photos by me – Sarah Dorweiler

Aesence is a creative studio and digital design magazine with a high curatorial approach. Founded by Sarah Dorweiler, a creative mind and entrepreneur from Berlin, her goal is to capture the feeling of harmony, balance and inner peace in her curatorial work and photography.