Why Photography? Part III

Blade of Grass © 2010 Bo Mackison

(Third in a series on why I chose photography as my creative medium and the basis of a new career.)

#3. Photography is my reminder to “Don’t Look; Really See!”

When I look at just a tiny bit of my world, I feel so privileged that I can see so many things. Most people pass by and never see many of the things that I see. Sometimes I focus on a tiny piece of the world measured in inches, perhaps only an inch or two square. Sometimes I focus on a single blade of grass. I notice its shape, its color, how it moves in the breeze, how it leans at a rather precarious angle, how it tangles into the earth with millions of other blades of grass.

Or I might study how a flower has managed to thrive in a bit of dirt in the sidewalk crack. Or notice that a lacy, yellowed leaf has fallen in the middle of a worn path and been crumpled by people’s passing feet.

When I concentrate on seeing so intently, so deeply, it makes the passage of time almost meaningless. I tend to push aside other concerns in my life, and so for a few moments all I do is see. At times, my photography practice becomes almost meditative in nature.

I try to capture some of what I see in photographs, and share my tiny visions with others so that they, too, may begin to notice.

No wonder that each night when I write in my gratitude journal I often write that I am thankful that I can see, thankful that I can crawl upon the ground and get up again, thankful that I have the privilege of examining my world.

And I am always thankful that I have discovered photography. If nothing else, the addition of photography to my life has opened my eys to a new world, has slowed my life a bit and made me more observant…and has made me very, very grateful.

About Bo Mackison

I'm a photographer, book-artist, traveler, naturalist, and creator of the Contemplative Creatives Journey, An Online Workshop and Community and Desert Wisdom Cards and Workshops. Though often not well known, I find the desert a welcoming place - a healing space. Its mysteries and gifts transformed me several years ago. Since that first encounter, I return again and again to fill my well in what most people think of as a desolate region. I'd love to share my desert discoveries and wisdom with you. Please subscribe to receive my five part mini email course The Gifts of the Desert. It's my gift to you.


  1. Very well articulated, Bo. I understand and completely agree! You are taking your photography to a higher level and a different place than I am and I applaud you for that. You are doing it well. The basics though are much the same and I also thank photography for facilitating a vast new expansion of my vision and understanding of the natural world.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Amazing how much the natural world comes more alive under the focus of a camera lens. Your mountains come alive for me when I see your photography, too. It’s a great way to share our respective worlds – and it expands our lives so much.

  2. And there’s nothing better to convey your words than that lovely abstract photo. A simple blade of grass has become a work of art.

  3. It is fun to see with a photographer’s eye. Things are so different. The smoke billowing up from a car burning oil as it crests the hill with a sunset behind it, a dog’s paw, a reflection in the water of one skipping rocks, and etc.

    • Bo Mackison says:

      Remember life before we carried cameras, Preston? I remember mine – I missed a lot, never realized I wasn’t seeing what I thought I was looking at.

  4. Ditto, Ditto, Ditto. 🙂

  5. You’ve captured beautifully some of the reasons I love photography. 🙂

  6. Ditto, too.

    In my particular instance, I’m grateful that that I now have the TIME to “stop and smell (photograph) the roses.” My life B.C. (before camera) was so hectic, rushed, and chaotic.

    I love the image you chose to accompany this post. And, I’m loving this series on “Why Photography.” Thank you, Bo.

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