Sometimes aloneness is confused with loneliness. I know both and find that loneliness creates a heartache while solitude feels more like a salve to the soul. In some way loneliness and solitude are opposite states of being.
In any visual practice solitude is key. Cutting out noise and taking yourself deeper into that world is a crucial starting point. It doesn’t really matter where you do this. It doesn’t matter either what results you get. The practice is to see and be.
Learning to be alone is some of it. As soon as I am with another, my attention is on them and I am especially programmed in this (you may not be.) At a certain stage in the creative process, being truly alone frees up attention and allows you to focus on your process.Paradoxically you will soon find you are not so alone at all. What’s around you will start to sing and dance with you. You will notice the mysterious intensity in stillness. I find this more in some places than others. It’s like there are different levels of vibration and you can sense this immediately.
At this point many of you will be able to recognise your own prayerful practice or idea of God in the spiritual connection you might feel in a place? As a fuzzy agnostic who feels much more connected to the vast unknowns, this practice is a kind of soulful “human” experience for me. Either way there is a special alchemy in it and maybe a new way for all of us to connect to mystery no matter what our beliefs are.
Giving yourself fully to any given moment is an integral part of our human experience with or without a camera. But with a camera this attentive solitude becomes an enriching Contemplative Photography Practice deepening the moment and then capturing it forever.
Jean | DelightfulRepast.com says
I'm an introvert, so aloneness is something I need regularly. These photos are wonderful. I never seem to manage to photograph anything but food! Must remedy that.
Ah that's lovely Jean, I identify very much with that. Except for the food part! I must begin to photography food too:~))
Marigold Jam says
You have put into words what I oftentimes feel – I am fairly gregarious and need the company of friends but there are times when my soul cries out for solitude and that little green corrugated barn is now in my mental photo album as somewhere I might go to be alone if not in reality then in my mind! Thank you for this lovely post.
I love that the green corrugated barn will inspire you and you can go there in your mind…..the wonders of sharing images and places. Thank you for your kind words.
I find it hard to write unless I am completely alone. I need solitude, especially since I am an introvert. One can feel lonely even in a crowd of people, so it is very true that loneliness and aloneness are very different things. Lovely photos!
Thanks Indie! Yes it's funny how we can feel alone in a crowd but quite happy in our solitude:~)
Very interesting photos Catherine. It must be like finding gold as a photographer to encounter abandoned places like that. We have a place on our back property that must be nearly 100 years old–each year more of the slats from the roof collapse a bit more. We've have to wrap the doorway as it is a magnet for little boys hiding out! Last year a folk singer had her photo taken in front of the old place–she was holding her guitar and it looked as though she were in the Ozarks although she was ten minutes from a thriving downtown! On another subject, I'm fascinated by your robins! They are so tiny and delicate. You captured a charming photo of them together.Do they sing happily such that you can hear them from your studio?
Thank you Susie. It was one of those places where you get goosebumps for sure! Your back property sounds similar I'd love to see that. As for the Robins they are cheeky little guys and make a kind of tick ticking noise. But when they are relaxed they sing beautifully. There a lots of legends about Robins. When we were kids we were told that one of them stood at the foot of the cross and Jesus blood dripped onto his red breast. Sorry Susie another of those grim tales we endured!! LOL
windrock studio says
Love your quiet, calm images so much and agree with the alone time, so important. I'd sure like to spend some of mine in your secret locations.
Thank you and maybe some day we will?
Catherine you seem to capture the wabi sabi beauty of these places….I want to gaze on them for long periods to see what I can find there. I too love to take my camera for a solitary walk. As others have said here I am also an introvert and these alone times are magical for me….I retreat to my garden for that time and can be lost for hours there tuning into its vibration. And I find gardening and arranging flowers fabulous alone time as well. I learned a long time ago about the difference between loneliness and being alone, and the alone time is part of my spiritual practice.
I hope to add my gazebo to part of my alone time practice, and do some observations from there….
Sounds like that gazebo would be in a great spot for observations, you have so much right in your amazing garden Donna. I can just about picture you there……
Gotham Girl says
Wonderful post and like you…and others…I find photography to be so contemplative…and as much as I like to hang with other photographers like we did in Dublin…I really cherish the time of being alone too.
I still have to come to terms with the group thing to be honest Robin, if I'm with some one else I become a facilitator. So the only way for me is to be sublimely alone….thank you and have a wonderful trip to Nicaragua!
Beautiful words. Loneliness and solitude as opposite states of beeing. So true.
Thank you for this precious post, accompagnied by stunning images.
Thank you Amelie! But I think in your case you have a beautiful model on the other side of the lens and that is a real gift!
I understand what you mean about needing to be alone to allow the creative juices to flow. If I am with someone else I am worrying about what they will think of what I am doing, or are they wanting to move on, and my mind is not focusing on the process but on the other person. Even our dog gets in the way at times, though mostly he stands waiting for me while I spend ages trying to photograph a drop of rain on a leaf or waiting for a butterfly to stay still for a moment ~ hurry up I can see him say!
Jane that's funny about the dog! I find the same I can't quite focus when some one is hanging around waiting for me. I always go back later on my own!
Mary Anne Brady says
Your pictures are just stunning! I'm an Alaskan but I have a good friend from Ballymena. I've been to visit her once, and Ireland has remained in my heart ever since… and I am just counting down the days until I can go back. Love your beautiful blog!