Feeling Through Seeing

Unconscious Psychodynamics

Often, when heading off with my camera I begin a process that now I recognize for its meditative quality, a type of seeing meditation that has learned to find the aesthetic value in any locale. My image making practice has evolved over the years, with a big boost coming a decade ago when I purchased my first digital camera, and another liberating development when the camera built into the phone became a primary image making tool these last six months.

The key for me has been the permission to shoot wildly, something I simply could never afford to do with film cameras.  As these journeys have evolved, the mantra I carry with each breath is simple.  “Delete is your friend.”

A Few Exercises that Can Lead to Unexpected Discoveries

  • Walk in any direction thirty paces, Turn in the direction of the first sound once you arrive there.  Find the image waiting for you.
  • At a random place, stop and find the image waiting on the ground beneath you.
  • Walk into a bush or low branched tree, and nestle in to the trunk as far as possible.  Then shoot a series of macro shots.
  • Sit in a one spot and continue shooting 100 images, but never keeping more than five saved at a time.

Developing the Extroverted Feeling Function

As Jung once pointed out,

“We need a function to tell us what is, and that is sensation. We need a function to give it a name, and that’s thinking. We need a function to tell us what it is worth, and that’s feeling, and we need a function to tell us what its possibilities are, where it is headed, and that’s intuition. He made it sound very simple.” (as paraphrased by John Beebe)

These meditative exercises making images help me to value what I encounter, to become related to the environment in ways that exceed my preconceptions, and allow me to discover worth in places I’d otherwise give no attention.

As a result, this extroverted feeling (an auxiliary function of mine) feels quite at home in my role as a psychoanalyst, especially as it relates to not missing precious details of the material the unconscious is presenting in session.

“Wake up and find out that you are the eyes of the world” ~Robert Hunter

Extroverted Feeling Function

Author: Richard Reeve

I'm the Senior Director of Development at Panthera, a global conservation organization committed to stemming the population decline of cats in the wild. I enjoy rural living with my wife Judith and our two children in the Catskill Mountains of New York.