Wandering in Nice, Photography and Meditation
I was in Old Nice this afternoon and, as usual, I had no plan on what I wanted to shoot. I've been walking around for almost 4 hours, taking a few shots here and there with no expectations at all. But I certainly walked through all the narrow streets of the area for at least two or three times. The light was changing, so everything was changing. But there was not a single shot where I could say "wow" this one will be great. When that happens I just keep going and don't push it. Something will eventually come up. Naturally.
But who cares, I was having a great time alone, I was quiet and my mind was set for thinking about life in general, what I do, what I want to achieve and enjoying what I love the most, photography. We all need moments like that, some kind of meditation in our moving environment. But don't get me wrong, this kind of meditation never replaces those silent moments of real meditation. To find yourself alone in silence to meditate is an absolute must. What I'm talking about right now is about the moments we are moving around, alone in our environment, thinking and even interacting with others (strangers) occasionally. Walking and photography is great for that. Having a meal alone too. Or reading a book in a café. Anything that you do alone, but part of your environment. Not only are we thinking about our life but also about what others are doing. And how do we compare? Even better, how this is making us re-evaluate the purpose of what we are doing. Are we really doing what we want to be doing?
Who's paying attention when you need it the most?
When I got home and started to transfer the shots I had done today, only one photo got my attention and created some profound reflexion. Incidentally, that photo is the FIRST one I took just a few minutes after I parked the scooter and started to walk. I saw an old church and decided to look inside. I love churches and will almost always step in when I visit, anywhere in the world. Many people do that for some reasons, and that's why there is always a little crowd when you get in. But this time it was different. I was actually the only one inside. Well, almost. Because I suddenly noticed someone was there sitting on one of the benches, praying, completely immobile.
Based on his clothing, he was a fairly young adult. Based on his posture, he seemed to be in need for some help. I felt like invading his world, his silence. So I moved very quietly and respected his moment. But I couldn't resist taking a picture of what I was seeing, hoping that it would represent the emotion of that moment. The first shot is the one I'm showing today.
Then I started to think about what he was going through. What was he asking for? And I had a strange feeling all of a sudden: of all the people in his world, I was the one paying the most attention. But certainly not the kind of attention he was looking for. I felt I should be offering some help or at least have some kind of conversation with him, but thought it would be too invasive and inappropriate. Instead, why not just simply think of him tonight and send him some good vibes and hope for the best?
How do you feel when you see people like that? Did you ever talk to them? What is right or wrong? What if you could make a difference in their life? Of course we can't take all the problems of the world on our shoulders, but sometimes just a bit of compassion can change everything for someone.
Let's hope for the best for the guy I saw in the church today. Maybe his prayers will be listened and everything will turn out positively for him, his friends and/or his family.
© Normand Primeau