An abstract from an interview of Alex Markovich for “Radio of Russia” devoted to his exhibition “Contemplative Photography” which was held in Belgorod State Pushkin Library (Russia) in February and March 2018.
Using the term “Contemplative Photography” I can say that I practiced it being seven years old. I had a film camera with black-and-white film and almost every day I took pictures of scissors, tear away calendar, sunlight on the windowsill or on the curtains. My parents were not happy that I took pictures of the objects and not of my grandparents at whose place I liked to spend most of my leisure time.
In 2014 a lady from the USA commented on my other blog that some pictures which had been presented there could be referred to “Contemplative Photography”. For that moment I had over 500 pictures of sunlight and various abstractions which directly or indirectly belong to that genre.
I searched the net and found the term Miksang. Miksang is a Tibetan word that means “good eye”. One can type in “Miksang” or “Miksang Photography” and as a result will get a number of good sites with good pictures on Contemplative Photography.
I have some friends in the USA who practice Contemplative Photography. I don’t want to say that Miksang is something special and unique. And I can’t say it’s a separate genre or style. It has a lot to do with what is described in Zen or Advaita teachings.
Two of my American friends attended Contemplative Photography courses – that was the result that they were open and ready for world perception on a deeper level.
I have been drawing and taking pictures since my childhood. I love to experiment a lot. When doing reportage photography I do it in the artistic way. When being on a tour to places which offer services of so-called “rural tourism” I bring lots of pictures of water, sunlight, reflections, shadows, etc. – and magazines and Internet portals include many of them in their news timeline as these pictures convey the atmosphere of the place or the event. This is classical Contemplative Photography.
I showed my interest in Miksang speaking in the context of mature age 10 years ago (I was 30). That wasn’t something new; I just began paying more attention to such phenomenon as light or sunlight rather than solid form.
I am being asked if one could learn Contemplative Photography. I think you can’t teach it everyone. A person should be ready somewhere in the depth of his heart, soul, whatever to ask for it. I recently found a Russian site where a photographer offers to teach you in two weeks Contemplative Photography. Well, you can learn the basics and even the techniques, but nobody will be able to teach you to see.
I called this exhibition “Contemplative Photography” just because of the catchy title. “Abstract Photography” would be fine too. If I used the term “Miksang” nobody would be interested as they don’t know what it is.
I don’t promote “Contemplative Photography” and I always refer to those photos as abstractions. This is my fifth exhibition on Miksang. Three exhibitions were held in the States in 2016 and 2017. The first one was held in Belgorod (Russia) in 2015.
In the States the exhibitions had great success as people in the US are familiar with the term “Contemplative Photography”. The photos in the US keep traveling to other cafes, yoga centers and libraries.
90% of those Miksang pictures were taken with camera phones – you always have your smartphone with you.
This exhibition will keep traveling too. I hope it will get to Moscow by the end of summer. I have presented 24 new photos on it. I think some people will get interested in Contemplative Photography and it would be cool if some of them would try it. Miksang is what you must be ready for.