This is me, Hiltrud Enders from Düsseldorf, telling you about a very special approach to photography which is in fact more of a perception training.
I am part of the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography. Even though our experience as human beings varies very much, our perception of everyday life and its expression through photography can have a uniquely connecting effect. It is a nonverbal, visual, and sensual kind of language.
I have been an architect for over 25 year now, and I’ve always been a keen and enthusiastic photographer. About a decade ago, I discovered Miksang photography. My Canadian teacher Michael Wood was teaching a workshop in Cologne at that time. I was hooked immediately. I enjoyed this wonderful play with my perception. Since then, I’ve always carried my camera with me. I went to several more workshops in the Netherlands and in the USA, I translated texts and material for the courses into German. In 2012, I formally became a Miksang teacher, the only one in Germany. I am offering three consecutive workshops plus periodic practice days for participants who would like to intensify their experience and exchange ideas.
The Tibetan word miksang literally means “good eye” or “clean eye”. It is a school of seeing clearly. For me, contemplative photography brings a personal and professional benefit. In Miksang, we learn to free our view from preexisting concepts. This approach to photography aims to make us more secure in perceiving things.
I am especially inspired by this training because it enables EVERYONE to experience and express their creativity. Our perception and photo exercises have the potential to change the work of photographers, but can also be a very good start for beginners. Modern photo technology makes it very easy to depict exactly what we see. Our workshop basis is not talent, nor technical finesse. Instead, we dispose of this heavy backpack full of rules and standards about “what makes a good image” from the start. We look at the world with a fresh, an almost childlike view. This is the key to the presence and intensity of our photographs.
“Miksang practice means disrupting three continuing habits: speed, impulse, and ambition. Instead of succumbing to those, you arrive in the moment completely, breathe deep and live your experience.”
Michael Wood, Opening the Good Eye
My usual working day as an architect is always accompanied by camera experience. From diving into seeing on my way to work to intensely perceiving certain views on the construction site. What I see is often funny, and sometimes weird – just as a daily routine will be like. I consider these areas of freedom a huge luxury.
Miksang also changed my view on architecture. In the planning stage, I regularly claim these moments of concentration. I don’t want to press a purely technical solution whenever a problem arises. I’ve learned to stay clear of fast and sharp judgments about what is supposed to be good and what is not. The real question is: What opens up if I really look?