Photographing the Unseen

Most people approach photography in a documentary way photographing an event, a person or an object in order to remember it, or to say, “This is how it is.” We tell a story of what we see. But another way to approach photography is through the question, “What have I not seen?”

Now we’re on a treasure hunt! And rather than thinking of “shooting” something with the camera (or phone,) we might think of opening the lens to something new. Just writing that opens my heart to the possibility of a magic moment where I might discover…anything.

Instead of “capturing” a moment, I’m willing to be more passive and let something new present itself to me. It’s the difference between a reporter covering an event and two friends of lovers having an intimate conversation. I’m open today to having a heart-to-heart with the Creation.

This kind of experience opens our inner eye. We find that what was formerly unseen was there all along, but we weren’t seeing it. Maybe we weren’t slowing down enough. Or maybe we weren’t broadening our vision. Or getting close enough. Or maybe we were being too literal and saying to ourselves, “There’s a leaf.” Instead of looking at that object as a way for us to see how light acts.

And what happens when our inner eye is opened? Well, my experience is usually gratitude. Appreciation. That wonderful expansive feeling that comes from being opened to the beauty of something or someone.

So here’s an assignment for you:

Go out for a medicine walk using your camera. The kind of camera makes no difference. Set your intention by asking the Universe to reveal to you something you haven’t seen before. It could be small–like the inside of a flower or a curve of the mountain, or the way your friend’s nose looks when she laughs. You aren’t after masterpieces; the purpose is to open your inner eye.

Share what you find–others would like to see! And tell us how your inner eye opened. That is, when you saw what you saw, what did you see about yourself, or the world, or a way you could be? You can post photos at Facebook.com/PamelaHale9.

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