About Me

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Jim Croteau lives in Kalamazoo, Michigan with his partner of 31 years, Darryl, and their two Labrador retrievers. He grew up gay and Catholic and white in the southern United States in the 1960’s and 70’s and has spent his adult life in small non-coastal cities, mostly in the Midwest. He loved his mother very much. He began writing poetry in May 2012 at first to cope with life in times of aging and then, well, he sorta caught the poetry bug. He is still working as a professor in Counselor Education and Counseling Psychology at Western Michigan University.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Some contemplative photography . . .

I dabble in what is called contemplative photography. From what I understand the idea is less about creating photographs and more about contemplative practice. Here is my own few sentences length thumbnail about the process. First, connect with your breath; if you are a meditator, the instruction "take good head and shoulders" apply. Then as you begin a state of mind like meditation, just start looking around you. It does not have to be in any particular place, and you are certainly not searching for anything beautiful or even interesting to capture. It is more like you are experiencing the phenomenal world more "as it as", instead of as we create it to be in our heads. Wait for a visual "flash" of sorts, something that catches your perception. Breath and take it in. When (not if, at least in my case) you begin to think about what you seeing, notice the thoughts and non-attach to those thoughts, as in mindfulness meditation practice. Just stay as much as you can in this "noticing" process. Only after the noticing thoroughly, do you pick the camera up and try to capture what you saw as best you can.  The photograph is really kind of an after-thought.

This is just my own "off the top of my head" description as I have come to practice contemplative photography. For more information there is a great book available, here is it's Amazon link: 

The Practice of Contemplative Photograph by Andy Carr and Michael Wood

One example of my own contemplative photography is on this blog that appears to right--the photo with the leaf embedded in the fallen rain on our deck in our backyard. It was the one of the first contemplative photographs I took and is still my favorite. Here are some examples of what I have "noticed" on a very recent contemplative photography outing in downtown Kalamazoo.