Photography - A Meditation

Aug 26, 2011
*Special to asia!
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Between February and March 2011, with the support of The Patatas, I conducted a photography workshop with some 34 students in Nepal, most of which were from underprivileged backgrounds. During the month-long course, students kept a journal of the lessons they learnt and the reflections they experienced. This is an excerpt from the journal of one of my students, Trishakti Manav.

1121 Indian women wash their dishes upon a stonetap on the holy day of Shivaratri, Pashupatinath Temple, Kathmandu. Photo: Trishakti Manav

24 February 2011: I carried the camera along with me for a wholeday and I realised that when you have a camera, you see everything with different perspective. You become more careful to the objects you see and try to go deep into it.

I took photographs of different things - I felt like I was in a different world when I observed them through the camera lens. The most amazing thing was that I saw so many things that were around me. I had passed through them so many times but never ever known or realised that they were there.

So I have found, not really found, but just started to find that photography is one of the great arts that can change your insight and viewpoint to look at the world.

The world is beautiful.

1122 A crowd watch a spactacular procession from the banks of the Bagmati River, opposite Pashupatinath Temple, on the eve of the holy day of Shivaratri, in Kathmandu. Photo: Trishakti Manav

26 March 2011: Four classes have past and now there are only four classes left, but in these four classes I have learned so many things not just about photography but also about an art to look to the world.

At first when I joined this class, I was not much interested in photography. I just joined the session because I wanted to learn something new as it is my hobby to learn new things. But as I took photographs and started getting into it, I started enjoying it. It is great fun and infact, one of the greatest arts. I become so happy when I am able to take desireable photographs, and sometimes I also get frustrated when I am not able to take nice photographs.

Sometimes I get stuck into the photograps especialy when I have to submit the assignment and I have to select 5 or 10 photographs out of hundreds. Oh, over the past 3 weeks, I have taken more than 3000 photographs. The camera has become like my best friend. Wherever I go, I take it with me. I talk with it through a the language of pictures.

Attending the classes are fun. I am enjoying it at the same time I am learning many more things. Review session is even more exciting because in that class we can see the photographs taken by our friends, which helps us learn their technique and creativity. My friends also take any beautiful photographs.

In the last class Debby didi told me that she liked my photographs and that has encouraged me to take even more beautiful photos.

It's already midnight and I am feeling quite sleepy. I want to say one more thing - nowadays I see beautiful and artistic dreams, which I believe is due to a change in the way of thinking which is ultimate result of your training.

1123 Trishakti Manav is a student at Takshashila Academy.7 March 2011: I think photography is a kind of meditation. In meditation, our mind goes into such a level where there is neither pain nor sorrow. Neither happiness nor sadness. It is a peaceful state of mind where everything is calm. Our mind gets complete rest after meditation and we get more energy after that. Our concentration level increases and we become more patient.

Before I couldn't concentrate in one thing because I was not patient. But now I can stay at one place for hours and I don't get bored. I can stay alone without talking and without doing anything. I am able to do things slowly after I started taking photos. I stay in one place and concentrate on one thing for hours. I can take hundreds of photographs of one thing unless I get satisfied with my work. I feel quite relaxed and light when I get the desireable photographs.

Debby, thank you for introducing such a magnificent subject to me. I am not only thankful but grateful to you.

Trishakti Manav is a student as Takshashila Academy. This workshop is a joint project by, the Little Sisters Fund, Takshashila Academy, and The Patatas.

debby ngDebby Ng forayed into journalism following failed attempts at becoming a world-class equestrian. A wildlife crime investigator, underwater photographer, dive master and founder of a marine conservation organisation, she spends what remains of her time writing about the environment, its wildlife, and its people.

Contact Debby