Photographer, Kim Manley Ort | See Beauty...™ Friday Feature

How many times do we go about our day, see the same objects, and even the same people and not think twice about our surroundings.  In today's See Beauty... feature we are reminded to open up and truly absorb how something so simple can reveal beauty.  I am so pleased to introduce my Playing Big sister and fellow photographer to the See Beauty... series.  Please welcome Kim Manley Ort.


“The meaning of life is to see.” ~ Hui Neng, 13th century monastic

The quote above has been a favorite of mine for some time now. As a photographer and a human being, my goal is to see reality as it is, with as few preconceived notions as possible.

What I have found is that there are always new and surprising ways to see an object, a person, or a situation – and often, there is more beauty present than we ever imagined.

To see and photograph beauty, I find it helpful to have a meditative mindset. Rather than looking for a particular subject (that is normally considered beautiful) or expressing a vision, the meditative state creates an openness that allows the beauty to find you.

I first learned of this type of photography at a workshop in New Brunswick, Canada, led by Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant. They gave us assignments, such as photographing the un-canoeness of canoes, or going to one spot for two hours and photographing what we found. We learned to take the labels off of things, and to see its underlying form instead. It opened up a whole new world for me.

Here are some experiences I have had in seeing beauty from a meditative mindset.

On the day of the first winter snow of last year, I went for a walk at a nearby park. It was a simple forest scene, with newly fallen snow, dead leaves hanging on, and trees growing every which way. But it took my breath away.

My weekly organic produce delivery always provides opportunities for visual delight. Food is amazingly beautiful and sensual. This purple cabbage stopped me in my tracks.


Here is one more example. Water, in all its forms, is endlessly changing and always fascinating – sometimes calm and serene, yet still complex, like this morning water … 

or raging, like this waterfall in summer…

It is possible to have beauty find you. But you have to be open to it.

See Beauty...


Submission by:Kim Manley Ort is a contemplative photographer who is always learning to see. She offers photography workshops (both online and in person) in visual design and contemplative photography. Photo By Design, an online workshop, will begin September 30th.

*Note: The above pictures are property of Kim Manley Ort, please do not copy without permission.


**Would you like to participate in the See Beauty...™ Friday Feature series?  I am taking submissions! If you're an artist, aspiring artist, or just would like to share your story, we want to hear from you :)! Contact us HERE to get started.**