We are so busy looking, that we have forgotten how to see, and at heart, these teachings have always been about seeing; about seeing reality, about seeing fully, about seeing clearly. Thus, each one of us has the task of cultivating creative ways in which to regain “stability and clarity”, to open ourselves to an “ever expanding vision” that will aid us in our efforts to “dampen [our] habitual distortions”. In this regard, Kolkin sees “photography [as] a powerful educational tool”.
It’s easy to look at a photo with only a passing appreciation. After all, ours is a world engulfed by an overabundance of images. Overstimulated and desensitized, we see through half closed eyes. Our gaze grazes across a screen in a fleeting fraction of an instant. We tap the like-button and move along. Lost in the infinite scroll of luxuriant vacations and avocado toast, its tempting to believe that the thousand words contained in a single picture have somehow lost all currency in the economy of what we are truly able to see.
But, the truth is, a photograph is always so much more than the simple snap of a shutter. A photo is an opportunity for us to examine the various ways in which we see; to see where we are afforded the chance to be attentive, to see where and upon what we direct our attention. To transfix and to be transfixed in a world alive with color, texture, and composition; reveling in a moment in time that teaches us how to see, that reveals to us the history of light and awareness – what else could this be called but compassion, affection, and love?
This an excerpt from my recent review of Jon Kolkin‘s book, Inner Harmony, that I wrote for The Tattooed Buddha.
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