Hello. Are you an explorer too?

kim manley ortHello. My name is Kim Manley Ort and I live in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario not far from Niagara Falls. My husband and I moved back to this area, where we both grew up, after being away for forty years.

As a child, I spent much of my time at the rink nearby, where figure skating was my passion and refuge. Little did I know back then that I was learning presence on the ice at six in the morning. I had my own rectangular patch of ice; I would find the center and visualize the figure eight I would carve with my blade. I’d take off to create my first circle, always returning to the center. Over and over again, with complete focus, it was my meditative ritual.

Years later, I discovered a similar practice of presence through photography.

It was during a photography workshop with Canadian photographers Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant, in New Brunswick, Canada that I began to learn to see. These instructors introduced me to visual design principles for photography, which I practiced for many years. Eventually, I developed my own online workshop in seeing and soon after discovered another name for what I do – contemplative photography – seeing with the eye, mind, and heart.

Although I love a good photograph, it is not my goal. My intention is to be fully in the moment, with the understanding that the best photographs emerge from the experience.

The world is fairly studded and strewn with pennies cast broadside by a generous hand. But – and this is the point – who gets excited by a mere penny? If you cultivate a healthy poverty and simplicity, so that finding a penny will literally make your day, then since the world is in fact planted in pennies, you within your poverty bought a lifetime of days. It is that simple, What you see is what you get. ~ Annie Dillard, Pilgrim at Tinker Creek

All of my writings and workshops are geared towards the cultivation of this healthy poverty and simplicity; to see the pennies right here and right now. My camera is the tool I use to practice, to approach life as an explorer – open and curious. It teaches me to slow down, pay attention, and connect with the world around me. I want to experience life fully, as the adventure it is, not turning away from anything. The key is to practice consistently (photograph every day) and trust your instincts (what you love).

adventures in seeing book

Start with these Posts

My Visual CV

Why Do You Photograph?

Learning to See – Contemplative Photography

Evolution of a Photographer – Part 1 and Part 2

10 Things You Might Not Know about Me

Oh, and I wrote a book with 45 adventures in seeing, which was self-published on November 1, 2016. Click on the image to learn about purchasing options.

What I Offer

I’m committed to the practice of learning to see and sharing my experience to help others do the same. Through writing, photographs, and workshops, I share ideas, practices and inspiration for living a contemplative life.

Once Upon a Time: Photographs have Stories to Tell – a 12-week experience of visual journaling, co-facilitated with Sally Drew, where we learn why we photograph what we do and what it has to say about us.

Photo By Design – learn to see the underlying elements of visual design and use them to create visually appealing images (on hiatus).

Adventures in Seeing – a 6-week experience that will help you cultivate contemplative habits and see in new ways.

Going Abstract – an exploration into the wonderful and wild world of abstract photography.

Keeping It Simple – a four week workshop in creating simple images with impact (and maybe some life lessons too). Now available on demand.

I invite you to stay in touch through an email letter, sent twice a month, that includes inspiring resources, a contemplative photo, latest posts, and notice of upcoming workshops. Sign up here.

My Pledge to You


  • A safe space for you to explore, discover and express your unique way of seeing.
  • Recognition and honor for what you share … and a challenge to go deeper.
  • To speak from my own experience and support you in trusting yours.
  • Fresh materials that evolve over time.
  • Credit to my sources and mentors.
  • A model for the contemplative life … and transparency when I fall short.


Contact me through the form below if you have any questions.


1 Comment

  1. Rosa Frei

    Dear Kim

    I stumbled over your website/blog and she motivated me to write to you. Your words touch me and I find your work inspiring and meaningful.

    Since 2007, I live in Morocco. I am a photographer specialised in Morocco with emphasis on the desert. My greatest joy is to show the beauty of Morocco to photography enthusiasts. From time to time I team up with other photographers. They offer a photo tour to their clients and I act as the local organiser and accompany the tour as additional tour leader.

    Why Morocco? I believe, Morocco can be a great frustration for the classical photographer “hunter”, who are only interested in the images, but less in the unique culture, people and landscapes of Morocco, especially the desert. On the other hand, Morocco is a gem for people exploring a landscape with an open heart and mind, and are interested to connect with a foreign culture and their people.

    I believe that the desert could be a wonderful place for you and your workshop clients. Are you interested in giving a workshop or lead a tour in Morocco with my help? I would be happy to discuss this idea further.

    Have a wonderful Sunday.

    Best regards

    Rosa Frei



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  2. At some point in your life, you’re going to need somebody, to stand by you … – Gentle Rising - […] was blessed  to curate such a community last year with my friend Kim Manley Ort. We introduced an online…

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