Monday 4 July 2016

Contemplative Photography Workshop - Quaker Gathering

Today marks the first day of my five-day Contemplative Photography workshop at the annual Friends General Conference (Quaker) Gathering in St. Joseph, Minnesota, about ninety minutes west of Minneapolis. The workshop is being given by the very talented Quaker photographer Peter West Nutting. Twenty fellow travellers and I are experiencing a week of photographic heaven.

Peter uses poetry to inspire our daily exercises. Here is today's poem, "Mindful" by Mary Oliver, plus the photos I took in response to the poem.


by Mary Oliver

Every day
    I see or I hear
            that more or less

kills me
    with delight
        that leaves me
            like a needle

in the haystack
    of light.
        It is what I was born for -
            to look, to listen

to lose myself
    inside this soft world -
        to instruct myself
            over and over

in joy,
    and acclimation.
        Nor am I talking
            about the exceptional,

the fearful, the dreadful,
    the very extravagant -
        but of the ordinary,
            the common, the very drab,

the daily presentations.
    Oh, good scholar,
        I say to myself,
            how can you help

but grow wise
    with such teachings
        as these -
            the untrimmable light

of the world,
    the ocean's shine,
        the prayers that are made
            out of grass?