We fail to first stop and appreciate — not just with our eyes, but all our senses — the exquisite beauty that presents itself to us, abundance overflowing, every minute of every day. Too busy with More Important Things to actually pay attention, we rapidly categorize and pass along flat, two-dimensional representations without first holding for ourselves the multidimensional reality.
Many nineteenth-century Native Americans were wary of cameras and having their photographs taken. They believed that the process could steal a person’s soul, and that taking a picture disrespected the spiritual world. I consider the same today in relation to technology, as our fascination with virtual reality supplants our attention to, and respect for, the natural world.
Don’t get me wrong; I love the convenience and speed of my digital camera. And I deeply appreciate good photography. Practiced mindfully, the art of taking photos can enhance a sense of wonder, rather than detract from it. But in the rapid-fire, self-absorbed age of smartphones and quick pics, too many of us have fallen into the habit of shooting first and asking questions later (or never).
Not long ago, I e-mailed a friend a photo. This perplexed her, as she knows I don’t have a smartphone. “How did you do that?” she asked. “Well,” I said, “I have this thing called a camera ….”
Here’s a slideshow of favorite images from frosty winter days:
This post first appeared, in a different form, in November 2014.