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Session 6 (Oct 15 - 21): Photography as a Path Toward Self-discovery

We will conclude the workshop by re-examining the meaning behind the quote by Jorge Luis Borges that appears on page 3 of the first essay. Specifically, we will explore why - in the purest spiritual sense - the “cultivation of simplicity” while doing our photography is synonymous with discovering ourselves. At the end of our life's journey, we will discover that we are - no more, and no less - the sum total of everything we have done; or, as photographers, everything we have seen, been touched by, and photographed. We can no more escape the inevitability of “seeing ourselves as we are through what we have accomplished” than we can outrun our own shadow. The questions are, "What will we find when we get there?", and "What can we do now to make sure we will like what we see?"

Essay (17 pages, pdf/1.6 mb)

Exercises (extract from main essay; 2 pages, pdf/155 kb)

Sessions #1-#6 essays (complete set; pdf/19 mb)


Seeing Beyond Sight (Tony Deifell, Chronicle Books, 2007)
YouTube Video (interview w/Tony Deifell)

New York Stories (Movie)

Your Workshop instructor's portfolio/essays - Sudden Stillness (full version)
(444 pages,
pdf/151 mb, preferred format - eBook/149 mb)

Science & Art: Self-Entangled Pathways Toward Inner & Outer Truths

(Presentation slides I used during my talk at a conference last year)

Additional books / references on cultivating "Simplicity" in art/photography/life:


First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively, by Emma Kid

More Than a Rock: Essays on Art, Creativity, Photography, Nature, and Life, by Guy Tal

On Looking: A Walker's Guide to the Art of Observation, by Alexandra Horowitz

Silence: In the Age of Noise, by Erling Kagge

Slow Looking, by Peter Clothier

The Storm of Creativity, by Kyna Leski

The Story of Looking, by Mark Cousins

The Soul of the Camera, by David duChemin

The Zen of Seeing: Seeing/Drawing as Meditation, by Frederick Franck

Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography, David Ulrich

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