The Quality of the Encounter

Great photographs don’t always require the best scenery; Rafael Rojas explains how sometimes you just need to spend time gaining a resonance with your current location and following your instincts

Some time ago, I read a story about Minor White and his unconventional teaching methods. A fellow photographer who took a workshop with him explained that during the week they spent together, the students were assigned to meditate and dance at dawn for days, only taking their cameras out on the fourth day in order to photograph their ‘essence.’ Although baffling and confusing at first, this experience changed the life of that student. That fellow photographer, John Daido Loori Roshi, later became one of the most influential Zen masters in the west.

According to Daido Loori Roshi, Minor White prompted his students to seek a connection with the subject matter, making the real photographic subject transcend the physical. In his own words, he recommended: “Venture into the landscape without expectations. Let your subject find you. When you approach it, you will feel a resonance, a sense of recognition toward it. Sit in your subject’s presence and wait for your presence to be acknowledged. Don’t try to...

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About Author

Rafael Rojas

Rafael Rojas is a fine art photographer, author and lecturer, whose work has been awarded in the most prestigious international photography competitions. His Fine Art prints, sold internationally, form part of numerous private and public collections.

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