Mindful Photography Ebook

Discussion in 'Digital Photography' started by Alexander.Of.Oz, Dec 27, 2017.

  1. Alexander.Of.Oz, Dec 27, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 20, 2018

    Alexander.Of.Oz macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #1
    Howdy All,

    As you may or may not be aware, I have a Mindful Photography service that I voluntarily offer to various mental health groups around my city called Happy Snappers. I provide the cameras and training in how to use them, so that people experiencing mental health challenges in their lives can escape for a couple of hours a week from their situations as they get fully engrossed in the subject or theme for the weeks outing.

    Quite a few of the participants have asked if I could put together some sort of handout that they could refer to in regards to the Mindfulness aspects that I keep mentioning and assisting people to experience.

    The end result is that I am now nearing the end stages of editing an ebook on the subject of Mindful Photography.

    I have come up with a free excerpt version of it, covering the Mindfulness aspects, and it is now available for download.

    • The final version of the PDF can be downloaded here.
    This first 40 pages are exactly the same in both versions, the paid version then expands upon many ways of incorporating Mindfulness into your Photography practice, with lots of suggestions and examples. It looks like the full version will be over 400 pages in length.

    I'd love to have some feedback and thoughts on this free offering if you have the time and inclination to do that.

    Thanks in advance and enjoy!

    Alex
     
  2. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68010

    Cheese&Apple

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    Toronto
    #2
    I've downloaded the PDF Alex and will definitely have a read and get back to you once the dust settles on the craziness of the holiday season.

    I'm looking forward to this. It sounds like an interesting and valuable venture and adventure.

    Cheers,
    Peter
     
  3. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #3
    I saved the pdf to my dropbox and will take a look at it! :)
     
  4. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #4
    Thanks, Peter and Molly. I hope you each get something from it, and look forward to hearing your opinions.
     
  5. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #5
    Got it on my phone. Had about 30 seconds to read so far...

    Will report back
     
  6. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #6
    Last night I feel asleep in about 5.2 seconds. Will try to make time for this today. :)
     
  7. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #7
    Just downloaded it. Will have a read tonight on my iPad.
     
  8. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #8
    I wish I was blessed with those genes! It's always taken me hours to get to sleep, but once I'm out, I'm gone for the night! I slept through the neighbours place burning down, with four fire trucks attending, sirens and all, at an old place! Their house was only a few metres away from ours too! :oops:

    Thanks AFB, I look forward to your thoughts.
     
  9. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #9

    Well these days I usually fall asleep pretty quickly, but often wake up and stay awake for 2-5 hours in the middle. Which probably explains why I can fall asleep quickly the next night. o_O
     
  10. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #10
    Very interesting read. Very well put together. I originally started photography as a way to get out from a difficult family situation.
    These days on the rare occasions I do get out, it is still a distraction just from a very different situation!
    But I'd never really thought of it in terms of mindfulness. Definitely food for thought.

    My only thought was maybe a few more photos in the book?
    But well done.
     
  11. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #11
    I initially wondered if it was the kids running you ragged! :eek:

    Thanks, AFB! I started when I gave up smoking, had excess funds as a result, and wasn't sure what to do with my new-found time. I wanted something to distract myself from my (then) intense life experiences.

    I did wonder about having a few more images interspersed in the founding section of the book. Thanks for the confirmation. It does appear a little dry in that regards to me. The remaining 200 odd pages are all images, with accompanying text!
     
  12. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #12
    Have updated the excerpt with more images as per AFB's suggestion. The link to this has been added in the first post above.
     
  13. Apple fanboy macrumors Nehalem

    Apple fanboy

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    #13
    Looks better to my mind, but I'm no expert!
     
  14. 0002378 Suspended

    0002378

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    May 28, 2017
    #14
    Hi Alex,

    I tried downloading the PDF thrice. All I see are empty pages (in Preview). I went to your updated PDF link, and clicked the big "Download" button and then "Direct Download" at the top right corner of the page.

    In any case, I'm not a photographer, but I am interested in the subject of mindfulness, and wanted to ask you what motivated you to learn about and/or practice mindfulness. If you don't mind sharing, either here or in a private message to me, I'd love to hear a bit about your story.

    Thanks
     
  15. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #15

    OK feel free to ignore...

    Read it. I like the writing style. The structure is good. Love that font. However...

    1. You need an example early on to demonstrate mindfulness in photography. Kind of a "remember that time when you..." moment. To get the hook in, make it personal to them.
    2. The excerts are great from the studies but you need to make then more personal. Relate them to things like people using photography as a distraction like AFB and mollyc or me using it for stress relief. We take up this hobby to get away or to immerse ourselves in sonething for us without realising we are striving for mindfullness. That mindfullness is our goal but we dont know it yet.
    3. The use of chimp in the exercise is jargon, take it out and just say dont check your images.
    4. Remove reference to flickr it will date your book. Reword to social media.
    5. Maybe introduce a short exercise in chapter one to help the reader experience a moment of being in the zone. Maybe a flower in a vase against a white wall, concentrate on the shape, look at the light the shapes the symmetry something to encourage a mindfulness state.

    Nice images. Like the direction its going in... Will need a copy of it...

    Hope this helps...
     
  16. Alexander.Of.Oz, Dec 29, 2017
    Last edited: Dec 29, 2017

    Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #16
    WOW! :cool:

    Thank you so much, Ken! That was extremely well thought out and touched on a few things that had been rattling around within me, but I hadn't been able to bring to clarity as yet.

    How to make it more personal was something I had been mulling over, but hadn't worked out what to do in that regards. You've given me a great push in the right direction there.

    I didn't even think about the term chimp, and I hate the use of jargon! :oops:

    I've been tossing around giving away an exercise in the form of some tabletop photography. Thanks for the impetus to do that.

    Again, thank you so much for the refining eye and sharing that with me. It truly is appreciated.

    I have a complimentary copy with your name on it, when it is completed! ;)
    --- Post Merged, Dec 29, 2017 ---
    Not sure what's going on with you not being able to access the download, I haven't had anyone else have any issues with either copy, apart from on iBooks, when I posted the revision and entered my name the wrong way round, with the surname first in a field, so it wasn't available till I tended to that. :rolleyes:

    I got interested in Mindfulness as a result of reading an article on it from a psychologists journal about 5 or 6 years ago. I loved "the Tao of Pooh" by Benjamin Hoff and have tried to live along those lines since the early 90's, when I first read it. While I was in my senior year at high school I devoured "Zen and the art of motorcycle maintenance," which had a pretty major influence on my thinking and ethos. So when I read the article on Mindfulness, it resonated deeply within me.

    Thanks for the question, I think I should incorporate something about how I got into and what I get out of Mindfulness in my ebook and on my site. :)
     
  17. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #17
    Hmmm. I saved the (originally posted) pdf to my dropbox, and I can see all the pages on my phone, but I can NOT see them on my iMac. Only pages 2-4 have any text on them on my iMac. It's weird since I can access the same file (literally, through Dropbox) on my phone and see everything.

    Edit: well the revised pdf is showing up through Safari in Dropbox, so I'll just read that one. :)
     
  18. Cheese&Apple macrumors 68010

    Cheese&Apple

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    Toronto
    #18
    Well done Alex and a tremendous start.

    The most significant barrier for me to be more mindful of photography and the photography experience is that my OCD tendencies start to kick-in and my focus shifts to the purely technical aspects of what I'm doing. It's a challenge for me to be in the moment and enjoy it while completing my mental checklist. I feel that you've addressed this but...

    I really like kenoh's comments and agree 100% with each, especially #2. IMO, be careful with quotes, excerpts and anything that starts to feel or sound too technical. I'm not suggesting that you leave them out. Just don't give the reader anything else to add to their mental checklist. As Ken said, you can do this by making it more personal. I believe you're in a position to do that, so take full advantage of it.

    Excellent work. Keep it up Alex.

    ~ Peter
     
  19. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    Aug 18, 2016
    #19
    Okay, here are some thoughts.

    I think you should find a decent editor/copywriter. There are some inconsistencies as to when/where you are capitalizing Mindful. There are also a few misspellings ("judgement" a couple of times, although elsewhere it was spelled properly as "judgment") and other minor grammatical things (spaces before and after dashes vs. not, which can make a difference in formatting/line breaks; a couple of punctuation outside of quotations; stuff like that). I also think you might be overly liberal with your use of exclamation points. :rolleyes: I like the writing style just fine, but feel it needs to be refined a bit more. Same with consistency of fonts throughout headers/on photos, etc. And as an extremely nit-picky and personal critique, I find the monospaced typeface you use for most of your photo captions to be very out dated. I would find a cleaner, more modern font.

    Page 11:
    Many things are decided upon when taking a picture with a real camera.

    What is a "real camera"? Will people who only have a phone camera be or feel excluded? Although I prefer the image quality from a dSLR, there are times when I am out with only my phone, but if I am using my eyes well, I can be mindful and still take a decent photo.

    ETA, as I read through I see you mention more on this on page 24, but I still hesitate to really exclude iPhoneography. I have seen some stunning portfolios from people who use nothing but their phone. In some ways your concept of mindfulness might apply more to them to those of us more traditional shooters, just because they *do* have more distractions. But of course this is your book and not mine. :)


    Otherwise I agree with Ken's assessment. And add more photos. A book about photography should not be stingy with examples. I know the book isn't finished yet, but for an example, with your II exercise of shooting one image 20 ways, put in your 20-version image. Make it relatable to the reader.

    Love, love, love the idea of this. I am a photographer and a scrapbooker, but as my kids get older, they are around less and less, and one of my goals for 2018 is to shoot more for myself. It was easy when they were babies and preschoolers, around me most of the day. But now they are in school or at sports, and unless I am shooting an event (Christmas, birthday) or one of their swim meets, TKD belt tests....I miss out on shooting. So I would love to read this fleshed out to help me find inspiration in my non-kid day to day life. :)
     
  20. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    Adelaide, Australia
    #20
    I think I have worked it out, at export I made the first version supposedly have copy protection. It appears that iBooks Author can do bizarre things when exporting as a PDF in this regards. I haven't done that with the next version.

    Thanks, Peter.

    I've gotten to the point where I actively spend the time going through the technicalities of what I'm about to do well before doing it. So that I can try and just be in the moment of exploring and capturing. If I do start having the technical thoughts sneak back in, I acknowledge them, then I just take a few deep breaths, recenter myself and try to notice new things about what I'm capturing, so a to get back into it again.

    I had wondered whether the quotes were too lengthy here, I'll look at how they can be abbreviated and have more lived experience incorporated there. I live with a couple of academics, and sort of headed off in that direction with this part.

    Thanks again for your feedback, every bit is helping me out in regards to the refinement of it.

    Molly, you get a big, WOW too! Thank you so much for your analytical eye and the time spent sharing that with me.

    Regarding an editor or copywriter, I'm afraid I'm it. It's not something I can afford to do at this stage.

    Thanks for the observations of the finer details, I will correct them and keep an eye out for consistencies in the future. I'm afraid you folks are going to have to accept Australian/British spelling. I will keep a firm eye out for spellcheck allowing through Americanisms though, so that it is consistent.

    Regarding mindfulness and mobile phones, with the various groups I was part of through mental health NGO's where mobile phone usage was the norm, it didn't happen for many people as a regularity, regardless of having a theme for the outings and the support worker and I trying to assist people with focusing on something. People were constantly using them for a quick this or that, just to stay in touch and keep abreast with the world and the moments were lost or never reached in the first place.

    When we switched to using the cameras I had sourced, this changed. The participants started having Mindful experiences with very little effort and were able to keep the space for much longer times. Getting to a state of Flow and remaining there occurred easily too. This is what my little Happy Snappers thing is all about. Maybe I should share that sort of thing early on in the ebook, so people can understand where I am coming from clearer. One NGO has had apoplexies about the possibility of me mentioning anything to do with their program or the participants, so it's a little murky as to what I can and can't actually talk about in that regards, even if I don't mention their name or where the groups were based. I've had three meetings with management about this already and have had to tweak wordings on my site to appease them. Other NGO's have no such problems and don't mind me mentioning them at all, in fact they foster and promote partnerships. Gotta love overprotective bureaucracy at play!

    I too have seen some fabulous images from mobile phones, but in regards to the average person accessing Mindfulness with a mobile phone, it's a very low proportion of folks that can do it. There was a very interesting study I came across showing how shallow and superficial peoples concentration was when using a mobile phone, but I haven't included it as it was very dry and technical in its writing. This is primarily due to our conditioning of using it in short, quick bursts and mainly for social needs, so that is the mindset induced as we whip it out of our pocket.

    Now, is it possible to access Mindful states of observation when using a mobile phone? Yes, theoretically. In practice though, it takes more concentration again than picking up a camera not to be put into the normal state of mobile phone operation.

    I'll have to see if I can incorporate an alternative or option for those that want to use a mobile phone though, for each of the exercises or themes. I'm not sue that there may be an alternative when it involves using an aperture though. For everything else of a technical nature you can get an app to allow full control of your phones camera. Thanks for pointing out the exclusionary process there. I think I will mention the need to really apply and focus ones self to access Mindfulness and concentration/observation when using a mobile phone early on too, probably through an example of how the photography groups evolved into using cameras.

    I have added in an initial tabletop observational exercise in chapter one, as per Kens suggestion above and it has a few images.

    This excerpt is the founding material for further investigation and it was created as a response to quite a few requests from the participants for more information on Mindfulness, not necessarily just on how it applies to photography. They just wanted some handouts to be able to read and refer to and I took it further.

    Now, it's become more of a free sample from the book.

    The remaining two hundred odd pages is all pictures, with supporting text and commentaries, so it's not like the book is lacking in images! There was a deliberate choice I made to not be too visually heavy in the first chapters that cover the foundation stuff, but I'll see if I can add a few more images in there.

    I will share one of my own explorations of something through twenty images, to show that they don't have to all be perfect specimens. That the end goal is actually the depth of investigation and observation the participant experiences.

    Thanks again, Molly. It was truly appreciated and has provided me with a lot more to mull over. :cool:
     
  21. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #21

    Lol you took the time to ask for feedback. So out of respect i thought I ought to take the time to give it properly. :)

    I agree with mollyc, you need someone to proof read it for you. I didnt want to be all grammar police on you. For that you want ScepticalScribe. You cannot do it yourself as you know the material too intimately and as a result you will blind read it and miss stuff.

    I do really like the idea... I like the idea of this Mindfullness stuff and inner peace and being in control enough to decide how I respond.to situations but Inhave shag all idea how to get there. The key is getting the reader to take "emotional ownership" early on so they don't get bored and move on to yet another how to set the shutter speed for water guide. Remember its a 200 page sales pitch for your method. Each chapter has to be both self contained but also a hook to the next chapter to keep them coming back for more. So three guiding principles...

    1. Tell them what you are going to tell them and why they want to know
    2. Tell them and make it relevant to them
    3. Tell them what you have told them, and what they have to do next

    And give them tools and mental checklists and short exercises at each stage...

    :)
     
  22. Alexander.Of.Oz thread starter macrumors 68030

    Alexander.Of.Oz

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    #22
    Really valuable stuff again, Ken, thanks a million for the suggestions!
     
  23. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #23
    Is the mobile phone thing a consequence of not having the viewfinder exclude a large proportion of distractions? The viewfinder gets you 80% of the way to focussing your attention? A phone doesnt do that as you hold it at arms length and look at the screen? Is there a way you can create this exclusion zone for the phone? Make a carboard viewfinder to fit over your phone kind of like a google cardboard for photography? Would that help? Just a thought
     
  24. mollyc macrumors 68000

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    #24
    I don’t care if you use American or British spelling, as long as you are consistent. :)

    I also completely understand why you want to leave out iphoneography, but I think you should list that out early on so people aren’t disappointed if that is their primary camera. Just make sure your audience knows they are the intended audience. :)
     
  25. kenoh macrumors demi-god

    kenoh

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    #25
    Dont mention any names, terms or anything that individuates a person or organisation. Speak purely of the events, activities, actions, outcomes. Peel it right back to the bare information and the NGOs should be OK. They are likely nervous you are going to divulge their USP.

    But you need a paragraph of how you reached this point...this juncture...
     

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42 December 27, 2017