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Photography and Zen

Published March 10th, 2012

Spring blossoms come and go, leaving their mark on the change of the season. Can we ever capture nature’s beauty with words? Can the essence of nature hold justice with such a human element?

To an artist, emotions are powerful to inspire. Give him emotions, he may express himself better, but take his emotions away, he may see things clearer. Is this not the essence of eastern poetry? Not just in haiku.

A falling leave. How beautiful it is. Can words signify the intensity an artist may feel when he sees? Its subtle movements in the air, its playfulness in the scattering wind, as it lightly touches the ground. Such a simple beauty, one without any human emotion.

The butterfly is perfuming
Its wings in the scent
Of the orchid.

I finally get Eastern poetry. A form of words that is completely free of emotions and human-ness. Of course, words are still human, we can never remove all of our influence in words. Can you compare the epic prose of Shakespeare to the simplicity of Basho haiku? They are simply too different. Shakespeare captures human emotions in its most cinematic state, slowing down each sequence and dramatizing each occurrence. I do love Shakespeare.

Though some days, when you would hike yourself up to the waterfront, with the endless horizon in view, you would take in a deep breath of air. Ahh… the tranquility, for a split second you truly share the peacefulness of nature. If words can capture nature, it would be similar to eastern poetry, where words only state what simply is, with no human elements, no emotions, only the subtle beauty of nature and the artist sees, rather than how he feels.

I finally get it. It took a deep look into nature to really understand. That’s how I enjoy my spring days. The haiku here are written by Basho (Blyth translation).

Moonlight slants through
The vast bamboo grove:
A cuckoo cries

With this, I was inspired to embrace photography, an art that captures the delicacy of the moment, of what simply is.


It sings 'good morning'

  • July 4th, 2011
  • Canon EOS rebel T1i
  • 135mm / f/9 / 1/400 sec

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Goei Andre  over 3 years ago