Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeingby Philippe L. Gross, S. I. Shapiro
This provocative, visually stunning volume draws upon Taoist teachings to explore the creative and spiritual dimensions of the art of photography. Excerpts from the Taoist classic the Chuang-tzu and the writings of Western aesthetes are complemented by over 60 photographs from the work of such canonical photographers as Henri Cartier-Bresson, Alfred Stieglitz, and Dorothea Lange. Lucid instructional text and enlightening exercises assure that photographers of all levels will be able to incorporate the lessons of the Tao into their own work.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Meet the Author
A native of Switzerland, PHILIPPE L. GROSS, Ph.D. is a writer, teacher, and photographer, and editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Transpersonal Studies. He is based in Honolulu, Hawaii.
S. I. SHAPIRO, Ph.D. is Professor of Psychology at the University of Hawaii.
From the Trade Paperback edition.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book revealed aspects of photography that are really not covered in any other book I've read on the subject. I know design and I know illustration, but I didn't get photography. This book helped me to realize that constructing reality through the lens is much the same as designing or illustrating. Much of the parallels the authors mention between 'seeing' through photos and 'seeing' through life can be applied to much more than photography. The only criticism I have isn't really a criticism. I just wish for more photos of the works discussed. I do understand that obtaining rights to publishing some of other artists' works can be impossible sometimes, but it's a shame there's not the examples which are made reference to. There are however many great inspiring photos from the author, Philippe L. Gross and other great photographers. The book is worth the price just for this. There are also many wonderful quotes and anecdotes of Taoist and photographic masters ¿ good for quick inspiration before heading out with your camera.
This book helps us understand how to start seeing and thinking like an artist. It is very practical advice for learning concepts that are very elusive and hard to explain. I checked it out at the library and now I must buy it to inspire my high school art students. My 15-year-old son has requested a copy for our home, too. It is appropriate not only for photographers, but for anyone interested in photography and art. I highly recommend it for high school and up, and for advanced junior high students.
I sense that my seeing will never be the same. The book not only illustrates how the simplest detail of the ordinary day can be magical, it also shows how we can easily transform our seeing so that every moment of life can be full of wonder. The main idea of the book is that photography can be a very effective path to personal growth as well as enhanced seeing. When our seeing becomes sharper, our photography improves and our overall appreciation of life improves as well. There are many exercises to help seeing things in a new way and the text provides many insights into the art of seeing and the art of living. Overall, the creative mixture of Taoism and photography is most appealing. This is an inspiring book!
I'm not a photographer myself, in fact, I usually try to escape picture-taking, but this book changed my mind about photography. I never thought of photography as a spiritual discipline, but The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing opened my eyes to how photography can enrich both my perception and outlook on living. The authors seem to really know their stuff and the photographs illustrate the text very well in addition to being captivating. My eyes have already been opened to notice so much more beauty surrounding me in everyday life.
In this compelling work, Gross and Shapiro succeed in demonstrating the oneness of the photographer and the 'object' he or she is capturing in a moment in space-time. However, this photographic 'capturing' is certainly not to be understood as ownership or power over an experiential event; it is, rather, the experiencing of an event that reflects the oneness of a conscious, awakened being inextricably interconnected with a 'something' or 'someone' that continues to flow while it simultaneously mirrors a reality that presents itself in the 'photographed now.' Through the process of receptivity (wu-wei), the photographer allows whatever is unfolding to 'invade' him or her and, with the camera, to unite with that which presents itself. Like language, the camera can defend against the direct experiencing of life; it can become a protective wall removed from actual being-in-the-world. When we talk, we talk about experiences, rendering the language, rather than the experience itself, the central element. The photographer must not fall into this trap. Taoist photography has no desire to object-ify, control, or remove itself from that which it films in order to supplement its collection of interesting illusions; rather, Taoist photography offers a way of attentively and consciously expanding one's awareness of the world in which one lives and deepen the internal world of one's psychospiritual reality. The picture becomes a mirrored reflection, a metaphor, a vehicle through which one constructs meaning and deepens one's appreciation for seeing beyond what one would normally see in ways that may resonate with the most profound dimensions of the self. I am pleased to rank this book with five stars and recommend it to those whose interests lie in photography, aesthetics, psychology, and all forms of transcendent reality.