I have always been interested in photography. When I was small, I often played my dad’s little camera, taking mostly pictures of my dog and cat at the time. I love animals, all kind of animals. Some even say I am obsessed with animals. And animals were one of my first subjects.

000004My old cat, Tom

My first camera of my own was a film camera, a secondhand Minolta 202, that was all I could afford. I love it and I am still using it. I was also experimenting with an old LOMO camera my dad found in a flea market. Afterward, I saved up some more and buy a digital Fujifilm which I have been using for over 3 years.

I am just an amateur but to me, photography has taught me so many things in life.

000047 Self portrait

Photography is a great form of storytelling and expression.

There is so much you can tell from a picture. Every picture captures a unique moment, just like time stands still when you press the button. The subject, lighting, composition, it is all the photographer’s intention to convey something.

000041A stray dog

“A picture is worth a thousand words.” To me, looking at photographs is always so thought-provoking. Some pictures even leave me with intense emotions.

Photography can also make great impacts. We all know at least a few iconic, famous, historic photographs that have changed history, triggered evolution, changed people’s mindset and perspectives on matters, inspired ideas. The impact that photography can make is limitless.


But I think most of all, photography is an amazing form of meditation and reflection.

It has taught me to observe life in great details, to see things beyond the surface. It has taught me to always find a better angle and to always find lightness.

Through photography, I understand more about my subjects and myself.  It’s helped me learn to find the beauty in everything, big or small. Photography is not merely a way for me to preserve memories and moment. It is a way for me to live the moment.

000013Whenever I take a photograph, I often hold my breath. It feels like I am there in that fraction of a second, silent, still fully present. And in that moment, I observe not just what is around me but also how I am feeling, what I am thinking. It is always pure to be in that moment.

And sometimes, I don’t take the pictures, I just observe and enjoy the moment. Some moments are just so special and beautiful that they make me just want to live them and see them with my own eyes, not through any lens.

In the modern, digital world now, everyone pretty much can own a smartphone or a camera. Taking pictures have never been easier. But I think sometimes people are too focused on getting a beautiful selfie or too focused on the technicality that they forget to enjoy the moment.

000034Sapa, the city in the fog

Analog photography might be a dying field to some people. But I know many people still see the great beauty in taking film photographs.

When I take pictures with my film camera, I have to be extra careful and attentive to my subject and surroundings.  I need to take it slow and be more mindful.

And unlike digital cameras, with film cameras, you can’t view your pictures right away nor can you delete the ones you’re not happy with. You have to wait until the films are developed and there is such great excitement in the process of waiting to see how your photographs look like. 000021From my window

Moreover, the colors of pictures taken by film cameras are so unique and beautifully grainy. And I just love multiple exposure techniques only possible in film photography. It gives the photographs such original, vibrant and vivid colors and unique composition.

Photography for sure is a big part of my life and myself and it will continue to teach me to see the beauty and find happiness in life. I am so excited to “write” more and more stories of life through my photographs.

All pictures are credited to me. All rights reserved.

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Posted by:Hanh Lam

I am a young Vietnamese woman with a passion for development work and social change, a desire to explore the world and a love for storytelling.

4 replies on “Photography as a form of meditation

    1. Hi Sara, thank you for your comment.

      Regarding newbie tips, I think the most important one is just do it! Great photographers spend years and years exploring and experimenting trying to find their own style and subjects, at the same time improving technical skills and keeping up with technology, trends, etc.

      I think you should just go out and start shooting, start with where you are. If you want to combine nature and meditation, pay attention to the Zen in what’s around you, what captures your attention, what you want to preserve.

      The second tip I think would be to get a really good pair of comfortable shoes! This is even more important if your subject is nature.

      Liked by 1 person

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