ELAINE QUEHL, Quilt Artist, Teacher, Dyer, Designer

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Contemplative Photography Part 1

This week a friend and I are hanging out in Haliburton, Ontario, attending a class on Contemplative Photograpy at the Haliburton School of Art + Design. We viewed some amazing sights on our way here. We stopped to photograph old abandoned barns

and of course more autumn leaves. The leaves are really still very stunning even though we are heading toward the very end of October.
The weather is certainly turning colder. Sometimes the days are sunny and sometimes cloudy, and always we feel a cold wind now. Our first day was mostly sunny, and I took these photos around the campus

Our instructor is John McQuade, co-author of the book "Looking and Seeing". You can see and read more about it here on |Amazon.ca. While my friend Anna is an avid photographer, I was drawn to the course more for the meditative practice and an introduction to a different way of seeing the world. The premise behind the class (based on Buddhist teachings) is that we as humans are conditioned. We have the capacity to see (in a visual sense) but mostly we don't really see what we are seeing. Our seeing is conditioned by pragmatics. Our preferences and biases get in the way of seeing. So to get past these preferences, our first assignment was to see colour, without seeing the "thing" that is coloured. We went into the village to look for colour and photograph it. These are some of my results The amazing thing we all experienced was that we became focused on colour and forgot about objects and things. We became totally in the moment, and completely focused and mindful.

We just finished the third day of the course today and I have to say I haven't been so focused and immersed and engaged in a long while. In my next post I will share some photos of our assignment to photograph our perceptions of flowers, weeds, leaves and trees. Stay tuned.


  1. How very cool! Looking and seeing is my CONSTANT harp when I am teaching. How often do you get home and not remember seeing ANYTHING?? For lots of people, that happens often. Most of us can see but we are only looking. We are not truly SEEING. We just don't pay attention. This sound slike a great course! Lucky you. Enjoy!!

  2. Paint what you see, not what you know - Charles Hawthorne.


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