A house of mirrors

If you contemplate the miracle we call sight, what we actually see is light reflecting off “stuff” that is received by the sensory organs of the eyes and processed by the brain for the mind to make sense of.

“clutching at knowledge”

So, in a way, our mind is a house of mirrors from which we create meaning, our “lives” and “the world” – All a bit unreliable…but quite magical really.

A photograph is captured light reflected off things. It’s the reflected image that a person projects to the world that is caught with a camera – that reflection is already shining out for all to see.

I had a conversation with a Buddhist friend of mine who is also a photographer. I asked whether, in taking candid photos, I was breaking one of the ethical precepts Buddhist adhere to, that of “not taking that which is not given”?

We both came to the conclusion that if the photographer’s intention is positive, he / she will be adding beauty, understanding or empathy to the world and this is not a bad thing.

Shadow man 2
“crutch cam”

I’ve not been out for a while (maybe that’s why I’m rambling on a bit). The cold weather affects the battery of my mobility scooter and I’ve had a couple of occasions when taking “just a few more shots” caused me to be nearly stranded. Moving at a snails pace praying that the battery won’t die as I crawled back to the car has put me off venturing out.

Walking with crutches is increasingly difficult for me. My friends have remarked at how slowly I walk now. I also have to take regular stops. One good thing about this though is that I am forced to walk mindfully because each step requires a lot of concentration.

where does the person end and the light begin?
“Where does the person end and the light begin?”

Yesterday I had lunch with a friend at the library in Worcester called The Hive. It’s an amazing building where there are exhibitions, meeting rooms and all sorts of productive activities taking place. I think it may be built using Passivhaus principles and it’s covered in gold coloured plating, making it look like a hive. Inside there’s an atmosphere of busy bees learning. It’s funded in partnership with Worcester University so lots of students (and the public) use it for study.

The café serves great (and inexpensive) food and there are normally people huddled together having interesting conversations or reading. As you can tell, I love the atmosphere. The building also has lots of disabled parking nearby, good lifts and beautifully smooth, gently sloping pathways surrounding it – meaning I don’t trip over any paving stones!

After lunch I left my friend to her shopping and, using a crutch as a monopod, took photographs of people on the walkways around The Hive – reflections and diffracted light all begging the question to me “where does the person end and the light begin?”

I hope you enjoy contemplating them as much as I enjoyed creating them 🙂

click on an image to enter the gallery


words and images © Miles Pilling

All of these were taken with an Olympus OMD EM5ii and Panasonic 15mm f1.7 “Leica” lens. The light weight of this mirrorless camera kit is a life saver for me. Thank you Olympus and Panasonic!

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