Featured Photographers of Zen Camera: Hengki Koentjoro and Lydia Panas

Photograph left, Hengki Koentjoro and right, Lydia Panas

Since the recent publication of my book, Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography, students have asked me a surprising, but understandable, question. They want to know which photographers best exemplify the aims and goals of the book. I then ask for a clarification — contemporary or historical photographers, living or dead? They haven’t thought it through, but, in general, they are curious about contemporary photographers. I […]

Photography and the Fluid Awareness of Zen

Conversation, photography by Hengki Koentjoro

What is the relationship between photography and Zen? Both share an emphasis on cultivating presence, the capacity for being attentive to the moment, and both encourage an intuitive, spontaneous approach.  Zen has attracted many artists and musicians for good reason. It is a system of thought that allows our minds to soar, that examines the human condition, and attends to our individual evolution in fluent, effective ways without being theistic. God […]

Awakening Sight

Kealaikahiki Point, Kaho‘olawe, HI © David UlrichKealaikahiki Point, Kaho‘olawe, HI © David Ulrich

What motivated me to write Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography? Sometimes it feels as if all the elements of my life have lined up, conspiring to help me realize this endeavor of writing a comprehensive book on the creative process in photography. A lifelong passion for the arts, a propensity for teaching, a long-term investigation of creativity as an artist and writer, and the resonating […]

Healing a Broken World

Maui Cane Fire © David UlrichMaui Cane Fire © David Ulrich

“We must learn to reawaken and keep ourselves awake … I know of no more encouraging fact than the unquestionable ability of man to elevate his life by a conscious endeavour. It is something to be able to paint a particular picture, or to carve a statue, and so to make a few objects beautiful; but it is far more glorious to carve and paint the very atmosphere and medium […]

On Learning Photography: The Terrors and Pleasures of Instagram

SF MOMA by David Ulrich

  “We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.” — Anais Nïn I recently joined Instagram to promote my upcoming book, Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography, and am struck by the incredible variety, range of quality, and diversity of content found within its digital realm. Everyone is a photographer. As I browse the platform, it is increasingly clear to me […]

Creativity and Zen

Escalante Falls, UT © David Ulrich

Creativity and Zen practice are deeply allied. They are both ways of life and are not just something you do. Rather, they are related to what you are—how you live your life, and on what kind of values you bestow meaning and importance. Creativity and Zen are pathways that can help make us whole and help us become more present, awake, and alive. Many artists intuitively grasp the necessity for […]

Earth Day and the Living Planet

The Social Conscience of Memory For those of us who were alive before the 70’s, we must remember. And in doing so, poignantly remind others, speak out tirelessly about our experience of the scarred earth that is forever blazed in our minds and likely still lodged in our bodies, and advocate strongly for mother earth to anyone who will listen — our elected representatives, corporate leaders, and the masses enamored […]

Zen Camera: Seeing and the Five Visual Elements of Photography

The Paradox of Permanence © Alison Beste

Each of us has in our possession a powerful and time-honored way of knowing about the world. Observation, direct perception in the present moment, teaches us about ourselves and others and helps us interpret the many dynamics that surround us. It shapes our response to the world and forms the basis for both knowledge and action. In one’s way of seeing lies one’s way of action. —Alfred Stieglitz, photographer Both […]