Mel Collie


How a sink can help your photography

As I write this, its July, Summer in Cornwall and that means only one thing...a little bit of rain..

Honestly, since I moved here 15 years ago, the summers haven't been great..but I do like photography in the rain!!  I like the ICM photos, the sense of movement and atmosphere..but sometimes I just don't want to go out in it ..again..

Recently, I have begun to look inside the house for a project, well, actually, I wasn't looking, the idea just popped into my head as I looked at the bathroom sink.. With no pressure to come up with a "winning" image, no pressure for anyone to like it on social media, its just a project for me, for my awareness, for my mind to see forms, shapes, patterns, shadow, light, an awareness of labels and what my mind "attaches" itself to.

Since practicing mindfulness and photography, the mundane can be used, and is a great thing to use,  to practice this method.

The mundane that chose me was the bathroom sink.

Something I look at daily as I wash my hands, clean my teeth, wash my face, moisturise my face, brush my hair, pluck my eyebrows, I should know this sink very well.

But I don't

I take it for granted

I didn't go out to choose it, I was in the bathroom washing my hands, watching the water go down the plughole and thought, I will use this sink as a project for mindfulness photography

One of the things that fascinates me is how the mind attaches itself to what is good, what is bad, what is boring, what is a failure, what isn't. Those attachments can lead us to suffering, unhappiness, stress, worry, anxiety, lack of self esteem, concern as to what other think of us.

Pausing for a moment to listen to that, our language, how we choose to speak to ourselves is fascinating,...and we can change it..awareness is key, his assignment can start that procedure of awareness, noticing, slowing down, listening,

The following is for you to practice:


- 20 photos of something mundane.

A kitchen sink, bathroom sink, a parking meter, your car, a garage wall.

Challenge yourself to go beyond your minds limiting ideas , perfection and boredom.

Take time to discern what you it is exactly that you see. Notice the adult mind seeing it as a sink, notice a childlike mind noticing the feel of it, the shine in it (hopefully if you've cleaned it recently!), the water, the fascination of it disappearing...a beginners mind..

Express through your lens what you it is

Believe, for a moment, that there is nothing else to photograph...this is it, theres nowhere else for you to be now,  apart from here.

You aren't looking for amazing images though, however, if you do.. notice if your mind expects that to happen. Its interesting how we can place stress on ourselves. Slowing down to notice.. it's not something many people do. If it was easy, we would all be doing it.

Notice that you can see the most ordinary subjects like the kitchen sink in a different way to seeing light, form, shadow, shapes.

Overall, remind your mind that boredom and what we perceive as a rubbish image is all in the  mind of the observer.