Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Miksang photography, constructed imagery, and the creative middle way.


True spontaneity is the result of freedom, and freedom is possible through knowledge. Tao

I recently attended a Miksang workshop, and then today I `constructed' an image. As Miksang is a style of photography that attempts to capture the world of perception without the usual theories that filter our awareness, and to construct a photograph implies some conceptual thinking one would think that they are at opposite poles in the practice of photography. True, but there is a creative middle way that is worth cultivating.

Down at the wharf I photograph an orange buoy used as a fender between dock and boat. I perceive the bright orange rounded shape and its dark green shadow below in the cold winter sea water. The contrast of colour and tone, the repetition of rounded shapes pulls me right in. Later, working with this image, I crop it down to the bare essentials and begin to construct from the elements that remain, an image that I later call 'Buoyant' because I see that, colour-wise, I have a floating orange above a heavy green. My buoy is visually buoyant as well!

There is unity between the form of expression ( photography) and the idea being expressed. It relies on a spontaneous 'flash' of perception by the maker and the viewer. Whether this fits exactly into ''The Miksang Way' or not is not important. The creative mix of spontaneity with conceptual works for me. I have carried the original flash of perception into a more refined state. That is a middle way, that is the art.

* The Tao quote also has something to say: the Tao is speaking of spontaneity being a product of freedom but that freedom is grounded within knowledge. We usually contrast freedom and spontaneity with knowledge so this Taoist twist wakes us up. So from that perspective, Miksang`s wish to experience the world of perception in a free and spontaneous manner cannot really be filter free. To photograph in the Miksang way is to have a firm grasp of both Buddhist meditation (based on experiencing the world of perception) and of photography,( camera operation, design theory, etc.). That is the knowledge that the Tao speaks of.

No comments: