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Photography as Spiritual Practice

Updated: Jan 16, 2021

I am going to start occasionally asking readers of this blog a to talk about their own spiritual practice. Phyllis Bertke is a friend of mine who has been practicing photography as long as I've known her. -- which is more than 40 years now. And she does her photography in a particular and important way. Though she has used and studied using impressive Nikon cameras and lenses, she now uses her cell phone for all of her spectacular photos, like the one above. About her practice of photography, she writes;

"Being aware … noticing …. is how I hope to live the rest of my life. My camera brings me into the present more quickly than any other spiritual practice.

A walk with my camera is exciting. I feel like I’m tiptoeing along the edge of what is and what might happen in every moment. It feels as though all my brain cells are on high alert, as though they are at a parade, fascinated with every detail and craning their little necks to see what’s coming next.

I am single and live alone. I have a friend in the same situation, and we were texting each other every morning with emojis, just to make sure we’re both still ok. Then we started to share photos from our morning walks instead of emojis. Knowing I might find a photo I can enjoy sharing takes the excitement to an even higher level.

Then later, looking through my photos, I feel connected more deeply to my world. Looking at her photos through her eyes connects me more deeply to the friendship."

I am so taken with the beautiful photo of the bird in the winter pond. I wrote the following in response to this photo;

A soul moment

Of fleeting beauty

One where the breath

Might halt, briefly

A scene you cannot look

Away from without guilt





Add up to more


Like the bird

Can rest

In this moment

Stop your forward paddling

Stop falling

Stop even rippling

Or reflecting

Let yourself be

The photographer

Of this moment

Any moment

with or without


Allow the world

To change you.

Penny Hackett-Evans

Thank you to Phyllis for her sharing here. Phyllis lives in North Carolina and you can contact her at

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