I ordered this book, The Practice of Contemplative Photography - Seeing the World With Fresh Eyes, while browsing Amazon for something else entirely having been intrigued by the idea behind it.
Andy Karr is a writer, photographer and Buddhist teacher while Michael Wood is a professional photographer and founder and director of the Miksang Institute for Contemplative Photography. If the idea of Zen photography is forming in your mind at this point you are on the right lines.
Miksang is a Tibetan word with the sense of 'good eye' and both the Institute and this book attempt to bring principles of the Buddhist meditation tradition to bear on the practice of photography.
In essence the practice of contemplative photography is about learning to recognise what they call 'the flash of perception' - a vision of the world free of filters, narratives and conceptual frameworks - and to express that perception photographically.
The book describes this philosophy and offers a series of thematic assignments on, for example, texture, space or light. The authors don't push the Buddhist origin of their thinking, only referring to it in the Epilogue. Instead, they approach contemplative photography with reference to some of the great photographers of the twentieth century whose work and writings ultimately harmonise with their own vision.
There are also plenty of photographs, mostly taken by the authors, illustrating the different dimensions of contemplative photography. There is some technical discussion of cameras and camera settings but this is kept to a minimum.
Personally, I'm finding the book very enlightening and though provoking, and have now started working through the assignments. Thankfully, the Miksang Institute website gives a very clear idea of what the authors mean by contemplative photography so it's possible to get an idea of what the book is about before buying.
I also discovered while reading about Miksang that Paul Giguere, who recently joined Serious compacts as a reviewer, has done the Miksang course and interviewed Michael Wood for his Thoughts on Photography podcast series. That podcast is still available and provides an excellent introduction to the book.
If you come away from the Miksang website or Paul's interview with Michael Wood wanting to know more the book is currently available from Amazon.comhttp://www.assoc-amazon.com/e/ir?t=seriocompa00-20&l=ur2&o=1" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" /> and from [url=http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/redirect.html?ie=UTF8&location=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazon.co.uk%2FPractice-Contemplative-Photography-Seeing-World%2Fdp%2F1590307798%2F&tag=seriocompa-21&linkCode=ur2&camp=1634&creative=6738]Amazon.co.uk[/url][img]http://www.assoc-amazon.co.uk/e/ir?t=seriocompa-21&l=ur2&o=2" width="1" height="1" border="0" alt="" style="border:none !important; margin:0px !important;" />.
[I]The Practice of Contemplative Photography: Seeing the World With Fresh Eyes[/I] by Andy Karr and Michael Wood (Shambhala Press 2011)