- A gray cat slinks past a wooden house. There’s something a little intimidating attempting to describe.
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Clint Eastwood’s cinematographer, Bruce Surtees, taught me how to use my Nikon while I was working on a film set back in the 80s. I studied film at Concordia University and after a few years working in the industry, I developed a passion for still photography that has continued to the present moment. These days, my main work is Yoga and I’m very blessed to get to travel to India teach in magical places. I try to make time to go on a photographic and spiritual sadhana wherever I go. The photographs on this website are the residue of my photographic sadhana.
I try to integrate yogic techniques into my photographic process. For me, photography is a physical and spiritual act that uses Dristi (gaze) to ‘see’ through the veils of Maya (delusion), filtering my conditioned ‘view’ towards the emptiness of Self, or the pure essence of what exists. Photography is a spiritual journey that involves substantial physical effort, in a similar way that I put effort into my yoga practice.
I’ve trekked through tropical rainforests in Guatemala, ski toured across glaciers in the Canadian Rockies, climbed 5000 m mountain passes in the Himalayas, endured the heat of Native American sweat lodges and cold silence of Vipassana meditation in Myanmar. Whether I climb a mountain peak, or climb onto the roof of a Buddhist monastery, up the 650 stone steps to Shravanbelagola, or watch the sunrise on top of a Mayan temple, I believe that the effort it takes to get somewhere makes the experience of fully being there more profound.
Photography also allows me to watch my mind react to difficult situations. I try to practice Santosha (contentment) and be happy with what I encounter in the present moment, rather than wishing the angle of the sun was different or I had chosen a better location. The big challenge is not to be greedy and insatiable in taking the images, but to practice Aparigraha (non-covetousness). Photography, like yoga, can easily pull you out of the present moment and thrust you into an act of obsessive desire for perfection and covetousness of the moment. It can be so seductive sometimes I feel I haven’t really experienced the moment unless I’ve captured it digitally. Then, I turn off my Nikon and Leica D-Lux 5, turn my gaze inwards to quiet the grasping ego and empty my mind so I can look at the world with fresh eyes.
Ultimately, my intention with photography is to reveal the spirit of ‘the place,’ whether that is found in the Himalayas or the intrinsic devotion of a stone carving. I try to see the essence of the subject in front of me. I want to communicate the sense of AWE that I feel in sacred places, the decisive moment when I lose all sense of Self and merge with the object of my view, into a blissful samadhic state where the Yogi is immersed in pure awareness – pure consciousness – Purusha and Dharmakaya.