Tag Archives: Zen in the art of archery

Zen in the art of photography archery

Combination of mind and camera can create more than a picture.
“Zen in the art of archery” is not about photography. But it has such strong parallels to the learning of photography that its meaning is unmistakable. Professor Eugen Herrigel explains how he took the path to Zen (a balance between the body and the mind) through the medium of traditional Japanese archery. His beautifully written book explains his personal journey, in a very-easy-to-read way.

In Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) the professor simply explains his experiences and the physical and spiritual lessons that he learned. His vision is clear and his insight instructive. The reader learns that the way of Zen is not learned through archery and the book is not a guide to learning the art. Instead his book shows us that the journey to Zen is about enlightenment, inner selflessness and clarity of thought.

For photographers the book shows us that there is more to taking a picture than the physics of holding the camera, pointing and pushing the button. Technique and thought become one and the art in the moment becomes a part of the of the shot. For beginners that may seem bizarre. For the experienced photographer it is a self evident truth.

The mere picture is the result of a harsh capture of the scene using point-and-shoot technique.

The making of an image is more than that. Creating an image in the viewers mind is the essence of communication. It flows from the photographers interpretation of the scene through the photographic process to the published medium. In its pictorial form it serves to conjure in the mind of the viewer an image that inflames feelings and passions, creating a lasting mental experience. A great image flows from interpretation, capture and creation through a work flow that is a smooth and practised extension of the photographers commitment to the communication. The creation of a great image in the viewers mind is as final and precise as the arrow hitting the dead centre of the target.

“Zen in the Art of Archery” shows us that in the physical process there is something deeper than is visible. Something that is a selfless act of complete focus. It is an act that is both totally committing and yet subconscious.

Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana) is a short, beautifully written book. Its beauty lies in its simplicity.


Title: Zen in the Art of Archery: Training the Mind and Body to Become One (Arkana)
Available: Amazon
Paperback: 112 pages; Publisher: Penguin; Language: English;

By Damon Guy (author and Photokonnexion editor)

Damon Guy - Netkonnexion

Damon Guy (Netkonnexion)

Damon is a writer-photog and editor of this site. He has run some major websites, a computing department and a digital image library. He started out as a trained teacher and now runs training for digital photographers.
See also: Editors ‘Bio’.