Zen Camera: Creative Awakening with a Daily Practice in Photography

The illiterate of the future will be ignorant of the pen and the camera alike.
—Lazlo Moholy-Nagy, 1934

Photography has rapidly become the dominant medium of the twenty-first century and most people now carry high quality cameras in their pockets. Yet many are unaware of the power of photography to bring them more fully into the present moment and help discover their authentic vision.

ZEN CAMERA teaches mindful attention through the medium of photography and guides readers to use photography as a means of awakening creativity and deep perception in the digital age. Following in the path of highly successful books such as The Artists Way by Julia Cameron and Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain by Betty Edwards, ZEN CAMERA updates the principles found in these books and applies them to photography for a current audience—offering timeless wisdom through a contemporary lens.

The material found in ZEN CAMERA has helped many people in my classes and has been distilled from 40 years of teaching photography in both college settings and workshops for the general public.

Beautifully illustrated with 83 photographs, its insights into the nature of seeing, art, and personal growth allow you to create photographs that are beautiful, meaningful, and uniquely your own.

You’ll ultimately learn to change the way you interact with technology—transforming it into a way to uncover your innate power of attention and mindfulness, to see creatively, and to live authentically.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Publication Date, February 13, 2018: Watson Guptill/Random House.

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ZEN CAMERA is divided into six lessons with numerous tools and exercises to help readers realize the content of each lesson.

Lesson One : Observation

Lesson One : Observation

Hollywood and Vine, 1969, by Garry Winogrand

Lesson Two: Awareness

Lesson Two: Awareness

Conversation, by Hengki Koentjoro

Lesson Three: Identity

Lesson Three: Identity

SF MOMA by David Ulrich

“We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are.”
— Anais Nïn

Lesson Four: Practice

Lesson Four: Practice

Light Pollution Grid 2, by Alison Beste

Lesson Five: Mastery

Lesson Five: Mastery

Martha Graham Letter to the World, by Barbara Morgan
Barbara and Willard Morgan photographs and papers, Library Special Collections, Charles E. Young Research Library, UCLA

Lesson Six: Presence

Lesson Six: Presence

Maria and Corinne, by Lydia Panas

Advance Praise for Zen Camera

“The most important lesson I learned was in a photography class with David Ulrich, who taught me that I had something to say. It was life changing.  I’ll never forget David’s generosity of spirit and how it transformed the course of my life.”
— Photographer Lydia Panas

"Zen Camera gets real about what it takes to master the art of photography. In six compelling lessons, Ulrich guides us through a series of tasks to purify our seeing and allow our original self to emerge. The prize: To create authentic and meaningful work with resonating presence." —Philippe L. Gross, Ph.D., The Tao of Photography: Seeing Beyond Seeing

“Whether you ultimately take up photography or not, Zen Camera will allow you to see the world with a soulful new perspective. It will open your eyes to the wonder and magic that exists in this world! And who knows, it might just inspire you to embark on a wonderfully fulfilling photography practice.” –Agapi Stassinopoulos, author of Wake Up to the Joy of You

"Zen Camera gently nudges us to realize, in each moment, that our world is nothing like ordinary; it is dramatic and mesmerizing and constantly offers us transcendental imagery if we just remember to truly see and click!" —Elaine Clayton, artist and author of Making Marks: Discover the Art of Intuitive Drawing