Task 1 – Be here now
Be here now
When we have workshops in the Norwegian countryside, we turn our gaze towards everyday life. We explore familiar surroundings and rediscover ordinary objects as if we had never seen them before. We are forced to make the most out of the unspectacular things we see around us, while in foreign countries we are often enchanted by the same exotic subjects as the other course participants. Thus, in Norway, the pictures often become more visually varied as a reflexion of our personal style and vision.
SUKKE GÅRD, NORWAY, 2015. Photo: Birger Falch-Pedersen
Lack of being present
It is said that depression is due to memories from the past, while anxiety is a worry about the future. Only in the present moment is it possible to find peace. But when thoughts go round and round in our heads, it is easy to get carried away with them. I meet many patients who spend very little time in the present moment. They quiver in their chairs, with shoulders hunched up and voices jittery and hushed. All of this stress and chaotic thinking takes a toll on the body.
Yes, we need to plan and prepare for the future, and reflect and learn from past losses and victories. But we must not overlook the moment we actually live and exist, the present.
My own thoughts have a tendency to fly off into the future to plans about exciting experiences, travels, pictures and encounters with people. I ask myself, “Why am I not looking at my daughter instead who is right now signing a birthday card with colorful letters? Do I see the facial expressions of the passengers in front of me on the tram?” It is the here and now that I am living in that I have to keep reminding myself about.
What is it that most often draws you away from the present moment? What can you do to be more present in the here and now?
How relevant is this isse to you from 1 to 6?:
Practice being present
The camera is a ‘presence machine’. When you take photos, you can hardly think about any- thing other than what is around you in the here and now: The wind rustling the leaves, your child who is struggling with their homework or the colors of the clothes of the lady skipping over the puddle. If you paint or write, you can wander off mentally into the past or future, and into your own fantasy world.
In photography, the present moment is the raw material.
Attention is your most important tool as a photographer. You observe and study what other people miss. Photography anchors you in the moment and moves the focus away from everything that causes a disturbance. When you take photos you don’t think about what happened happened yesterday or what might happen tomorrow. Today, here and now, is in focus.
Find a place you want to be. Be there.
Take photographs for 15 minutes. Take 10 pictures.
Let the photos come to you instead of hunting for them.
Move more slowly, that way a state of presence will emerge on its own.
How did it feel when you took the photos? Did you manage to be present?
On a scale of 1 to 6, how useful was this task for you?
Book suggestion: What to Say When You Talk to Yourself by Shad Helmstetter