Hi and welcome!
My name is Kim Manley Ort. When I was growing up, I spent much of my time at the local ice rink, where figure skating was my passion and refuge. Little did I know back then that I was learning presence on a small patch of ice at six in the morning. I practiced making figure eights over and over again, always returning to the center. It was a meditative ritual.
Years later, I discovered a similar practice of presence through photography. It was at a photography workshop in 2001 with Freeman Patterson and Andre Gallant that I first learned what it means to see. They taught me the principles of visual design for photography – seeing in terms of lines, shapes, colours, amd textures. I practiced putting them to work for many years.
Along the way, I realized that I valued the process of photographing as much or more than the final print. The camera was teaching me how to be present. This is contemplative photography – seeing with the eye, mind, and heart.
That quote by Annie Dillard is one of my all-time favourites because it describes my philosophy and mission perfectly. That is, to discover those pennies, those jewels, that are hidden in plain sight, every single day. And, I love to help others do the same.
I practice seeing those pennies right where I live, in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario – near Niagara Falls. My husband and I moved back to this area, where we were both born, after living in the United Staes for many years. I’ve grown to love this tiny, tourist town, where I can walk to Lake Ontario in about 15 minutes. Those daily walks with camera in hand are my contemplative practice.
What I Offer
After years of practice in seeing through photography and writing online, I wondered about offering an online class in seeing. My first workshop, Photo By Design, launched in 2010. Since then, I’ve created several other classes – in abstract photography, how to use a 50mm lens, keeping it simple, developing contemplative habits, and visual journalling. All have at their core a desire to be present and experience life exactly as it is. One of my courses, Adventures in Seeing, became a book of photographic exercises.
I still love a good photograph, but it’s not my end goal. My intention is to be fully in the moment, open and aware. The best photographs emerge from this mindset. My mission is to share ideas, practices and inspiration for living a contemplative life. The camera is my tool.
If this resonates with you, please explore what I have to offer through the boxes below – whether an in-person or online experience, the writings in my archive, the Adventures in Seeing book, or a one on one contemplative photo walk. You can contact me through the form at the bottom of the page if you have any questions. Thanks so much for stopping by.
My Pledge to You
- A safe space for you to explore, discover and express your unique way of seeing.
- Recognition 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.
Subscribe to my monthly letter and you’ll receive a contemplative photo, inspiration on living a contemplative life, and information about upcoming workshops.