Photo Essay: Photography as Meditation

Windows: Reflections from the windows across the street on Shotwell. Esther Reyes

One of the best parts of editing Mission Local is discovering wonderful photographers and writers. I started noticing the photographs by Esther Reyes in our Flickr feed — they made me want to stop and look so it wasn’t surprising when she said she considered photography a “meditative practice.” 

I asked her for a photo essay and we now have two. This is the first one, which features architectural photos. I asked her to describe herself and her process and she wrote the following:

I’m a Bay Area native.  I was imported from Korea in utero, born in Oakland, raised in Castro Valley and I have lived in San Francisco for 26 years.  After my mom passed from brain cancer, I realized I had been living on auto-pilot and chasing things that didn’t matter much. I quit my job and now make a living as a local government management consultant.  Photography became a way for me to slow my rush through life and to capture what I find interesting about living here.  For me, it’s a meditative practice.

My tendency was to focus on very personal, contemplative moments in the Mission and on compositions that reflected what I love about the Mission, which in my mind and heart, demonstrate a stubborn persistence full of color and life regardless of all of the changes that are happening (said with hope and a little trepidation…).  So, even though I walked Valencia several times, it didn’t inspire me much.  I discovered that as I’ve gotten older, while I find the things that the younger folks are doing and where they are hanging out still interesting because change is fascinating, threatening, welcomed, but mostly, destined, I’m drawn to what I’ve remembered and what the Mission still means to me over almost 30 years. Stasis!

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  1. Travers

    Nice work.

  2. sonic

    really great, thanks for posting this.

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