Photography and The Power of Now – Ben Evans Photography relies upon the passing of time.

We choose a moment and sometimes its duration too. A long enough shutter speed de-familiarises time, blending its minutes and hours into a single frame quite unlike anything we've seen with our naked eyes.

ike fish contemplating water, !ime is peculiar if we think about it. Advanced photography is as much about understanding and e"plaining the world as capturing it. And in the same way that a portrait can shine light on a person's character, so a camera can be a tool to e"plore and discover the nature of time. #ckhart !olle, author of the the Power of $ow has an intriguing relationship with time. %e reminds us that the only e"perience we will ever have of time is the present moment. We may have thoughts of the past, even be affected by historical wounds, but they are &ust thoughts in this moment. %opes and fears for the future may control us, but here we are still, right here in the 'now'. !he present moment is life' it is always okay, and it is always enough. !hose interruptions and distractions( !hey're your life too. Alan Watts compared life with music' the end of the song isn't the important bit)

What has all this got to do with %olistic Photography( *'ll try and e"plain with a story about the best series of photographs * never made.

+alella de Parafrugells is a small +atalan fishing village a few hours $orth of ,arcelona. !he golden light of sunset was painting it even more beautiful as * walked along the beach there last winter. A pair of old old fishermen in traditional clothing were manoeuvring their ancient boat into the deep blue sea. *t was a scene out of time, and * had my antique %asselblad camera ready to preserve it. A %asselblad was used to take the first photos on the moon, and mine is of a similar vintage. *t works like clockwork' but it works like clockwork) -o with no batteries, everything is manually controlled. +onfusingly, the viewfinder shows an image that's reversed left-to-right. * had to think about the light and choose the right shutter speed to free.e the scene. ,ut still show the movement' while simultaneously thinking about my aperture's depth of field and the effect my choice was having on my e"posure. Which * had to guess based on e"perience.

* also needed to focus the lens manually and frame the sub&ect on the other side of where *'d put them on a normal d- /. And all this while choosing the 'right' moments to e"press how * saw the world in those few minutes.

$ow *'m a bear of little brain, so * couldn't cope with each thing at once' and then an ama.ing thing happened. 0perating the camera became unconscious. And with my mind caught up doing that, * felt incredibly connected with the scene and the present moment. * had no thoughts of the past or future distracting my awareness, and could watch my emotions ob&ectively. * created a series of photographs of the boat being launched' blue cigar smoke backlit by the orange rays of sunlight. !he ploughed furrow of coarse sand left in the keel's wake, taut muscles under sun-burnt skin, the tip and splash and finally, the dot past the rocks. * can't show you these photographs. !he camera, old dog that it is, never made them. ,ut * can see them clearly in my mind's eye. * haven't inherited my grandfather's photographic memory, but something about an intense

connection with the moment leaves an indelible mark. Perhaps it was this that the /omantic poet Wordsworth was writing about in his poem, '1affodils'.

Photography starts as a way to capture, preserve and share your surroundings' 'here's me on my holiday in #gypt 2with the pyramids behind3', 'there's +harlotte with the cows', 'this is the view from my new place', 'this is what -igma's new camera looks like'. ,ut %olistic Photography can also be used to e"press your ideas and emotions, using the world as material to do so. !he photographer has an image in mind, then sets off with the camera 2and Photoshop)3 to find or create it. !he intention is to create photographs that tell a story, show an concept or e"press a feeling. !hese two approaches - Preservation and Expression - guide us to create with http455www.holisticphotography.com5. * believe that e"pressing ideas and emotions can make photography an art form. 6or e"ample, -tielglit. made a series of photographs which he called #quivalents' they were pictures of clouds - but they weren't about clouds' he wanted them to seem almost musical.

#namoured by the idea that a photograph didn't have to be about the sub&ect depicted, * thought e"pressive photography was a higher practice. !urns out that they both offer rewards for the diligent, open-minded photographer. Practising e"pressive photography puts you in touch with your emotions and ideas. 7ou learn to recognise how the world affects your body and mind. 7ou become more sensitive and thoughtful. Without wanting to sound 'woolly' *'ll say that this approach to art deeply nourishes the soul and intellect.

Practising preservation in your photography sharpens your awareness of the world around you. A camera is an ob&ective tool. earning how to anticipate how a scene will look in a photograph before you press the shutter will force you to look at things ob&ectively. 6or e"ample, a lot of new photographers have preconceptions of the scene in front of them. !hey generalise and see what they e"pect to see. !his goes right back to childhood where we learned to associate caricatures with real people and animals. 8eneralising helps us a lot in daily life' but it is unhelpful for seeing things as they really are.

ooking at the world as it appears also means that we become more aware of change. 6or e"ample, we start to notice the sun's arc across the sky so we can understand how the shadows in our scene will shift with time. %ave a look' shadows move surprisingly quickly. 0n a shorter time-scale, and especially with people, even fractions of a second can dramatically alter how your sub&ect appears. 9nless you're very present to the moment, it's easy to miss these fluctuations.

!ry a series of photographs to e"plore how things change. !his might be a drive-mode series of a galloping horse' or a photo taken once a year of a glacier. *t is worth putting them together in a time-lapse video if you have a lot of them. 7ou can also e"periment with your shutter speed duration to see how movement changes. Paying close attention to how things appear to you and how they are changing brings your conscious awareness into the 'now'. !olle suggests that to get in touch with the present moment, we can &ust sit still and pay attention to our thoughts and sensory impressions. After a while, the awareness may arise, 'if * am watching my thoughts, then there must be two of me' the thinking mind and the observing mind.'

7our thoughts don't make you who you are. !he ,hagavad 8ita talks of your body as a vehicle for your soul. Where does the body end and the mind begin( ,ut wait. *'m sure that our attachment to form and ego-based identity must be beyond the scope of this photography article) !he point is that unless you're in the habit, it can be tricky to watch your thoughts and emotions without getting caught up in them. And your camera happens to be an e"cellent tool to assist you. -tart to really pay attention to the world around you for what it is. 7ou'll find that it's ludicrously challenging to stop identifying ob&ects for the names you've learned for them' 'my hand, 8eorge's happy face, this screen with colours on'.

,ut what you can do is to realise that ob&ects are unique. !hey e"ist' reading Albert +amus' book '!he -tranger' will help e"plain this. -tart looking twice at things, at their form. Where are they in their time-scale from creation to destruction(

1oes such a time-scale e"ist at all for them or is it &ust a metamorphosis of form and meaning( 1oes a broken chair with no legs cease to be a chair( Photograph things as they are. 9se a macro lens to highlight certain details to de familiarise them. +hallenge the meanings you automatically attach to the things around you. Watch them intently in the moment and you'll be ama.ed by how your awareness e"pands.
Ben Evans is a Barcelona-based English Photographer who teaches photography classes in Barcelona and keeps a photoblog of ‘fine art street’ photos of Barcelona at www.i-Barcelona.com. Ben is the author of best-selling book, Photography !he "ew !hings #ou $eed !o %now, available now for &&p at www.'reatBigBear.com. (e is working on two photography teaching pro)ects, Better !han &* Percent and (olistic Photography. (e shoots $ikon, (asselblad, +pple ,iPad -. and those little throwaway waterproof film cameras with the plastic lenses.