Last week’s outing saw a small group of members venture into the Avonlea Badlands to explore the magic of ancient geological formations shaped by centuries of erosion by wind, water and temperature fluctuations. The jury is still out if we will organize a sharing session for everyone’s favourite images. Those who participated, please get in touch with Anna and Vaughn and let us know how you feel about sharing.
It’s time to turn our attention to September and our next meeting. Yes, we will continue to gather via ZOOM. Vaughn and I have repeatedly discussed returning to meetings at Carol’s Cafe & Catering in Moose Jaw but with the Covid19 cases not levelling out anytime soon we will use the online resource we established early on. ZOOM is the most effective way to communicate right now and we have recognized how much more economic this form of connecting is. Yes, at the same time we realize how important personal contact is ultimately we have seen significant growth in everyone’s Miksang photography as you navigate these times on your own with virtual guidance. Our group hails from near and far in Saskatchewan and even into Ontario (many would not travel to Moose Jaw for a Saturday morning gathering because it would not be possible).
On to the details for September: Our next meeting is scheduled for Thursday, September 3rd at 7 pm.
Please submit your images to Vaughn by Wednesday evening at 6 pm. The reason for early submission has several reasons: It seems that every time at least one person has encountered difficulties in submitting. Some images do not arrive in Vaughn’s inbox. It appears that sending images from your phone works most times. If you are downloading your images from your camera ensure you downsize them in your favourite photo processing program, then attach them to an email. If you downsize to 1000 pixels on the longest side the images will be just fine for sharing during our session and they will not bog down your or Vaughn’s internet connection. Please remember, do not send more images than we ask for. We will only select the first 6- 8 that you submit. Please share in the email how many images you are sending so Vaughn is aware and can contact you if not all images have arrived. Thanks for being considerate, everyone.
And what is the theme for September? With the recent heatwave, we are not really thinking of fall and a change of seasons, yet the signs are all around us. Keeping these seasonal changes in mind Vaughn and I put our thinking caps on and chose “Visual Haiku” for your assignment.
What is a visual haiku? What is a haiku for that matter? John McQuade in “Heart of Photography” says A haiku is a contemplative literary and poetic form that provides a written equivalent of clear and true perception. (…the pedagogical form in the English language for this practice is seventeen syllables in a five/seven/five sequence. Haiku should also include a reference to the season and nature…) Please read more about this topic in “Heart of Photography”, pgs. 21 – 23 in the hardcopy version.
How can we implement the haiku into our Miksang photography? “Heart of Photography”, Part Five, Assignment 6, pgs. 104 – 107 provides some insightful and easy to understand readings to guide you in your exploration of Visual Haiku. The short chapter is brimming with the most concise information on the topic. If you do not own the book yet consider downloading it to your Kindle app for under C$10.
Here are a few pertinent excerpts from the chapter by John and Miriam to get you started: Of all the traditional contemplative art disciplines, written haiku is closest to our contemplative photography practice… Haiku also includes a season word. This could be something as simple as stating the season – autumn – or something subtler, like a phenomenal feature of the season – red maple leaves representing autumn… what is visual haiku? Since visual haiku is not a literary form it does not retain its literary structure… it works with deeper contemplative features of direct perception, sensibility, insight, and season… we tune into the tension of impermanence and poignancy… for example, an out-of-season oak leaf still clings to the branch, then blows off and lands on the snow, then there is a light snowfall and some gathers on the leaf…
Our recommendation is this:…do not go out looking for Visual Haiku. That will yank you out of the contemplative mindset and plop you into a hunting mindset. This balance is always tricky in Nalanda Miksang, but especially with Visual Haiku. it is better to simply head out and explore nature. You will recognize a visual haiku when you see it if you tune into these sensibilities but not by looking for it…
As a group, we have explored Visual Haiku a few times in the past. Feel free to click on the link below to watch the slide show we shared a couple years ago to gain a better understanding of the concept. It was an April shoot, so the images will cool you down but they are a good starting point, especially for our newer members.
Looking forward to connecting with you all in early September. I will post a reminder closer to the date and will encourage you then to indicate your participation and send me an email for the ZOOM link for September 3rd. Sharing it this early will just have you lose it. Meanwhile, go out, explore, be inspired and perceive the subtle changes in nature! Happy Miksang practice. Anna & Vaughn