I would like to reconnect with my photography but I would like to do it in a way that is informed by my Buddhist practice and that becomes part of that practice. This topic has been in the back of my mind for some time but has now crystallized into this manifesto for action. A manifesto that I hope will also be of value to non-Buddhist photographers looking for direction.
Key to my practice is the notion of Right View or “inter-being” as it is formulated by Zen teacher Thích Nhất Hạnh. We inter-are with each other and everything else; from the most distant star to the flea on the cat. Suffering is born of denying this truth. Joy comes from embracing it.
It seems easy to accept we are made of star dust but tough to admit our deep dependency on other humans. This lack of acceptance leads to the creation of barriers, stereotyping, prejudice and eventually violence. If we are to use our camera as a tool for positive change then it appears obvious we should use it to dissolve these barriers and that this should involve portraying others. This has potential both in the act of photographing and in the viewing of the photograph itself. Hence this manifesto is about Portraiture rather than any other form of photography. Continue reading »