Just Looking is a creative project to deepen mindfulness, curiosity and wonder. It's for those willing to experiment with their ways of looking. Join our community by signing up for the newsletter, or find us on Instagram or Meetup.
– Susie Biehler
“What a wonderful (literally wonder full) newsletter!"
– Michael Gilmore
“I love spotting the Just Looking Letter in my inbox. Always a treat."
– Dave Hampton
"A gorgeous combination of insight, inspiration and beauty."
- Nipun Mehta
“This experience has opened my eyes to so much beauty that I was missing out on. Simple, ordinary, everyday moments.”
– Gina Swire
"The Just Looking approach reminds me of what I value most about photography in the first place - the process, not the outcome."
– Tony Bliss
"Each Letter cheers me on in my efforts to slow down and be more mindful."
– Evamaria Kulovits
"When everything is so busy, this is so inspiring. I love it!"
– Rebecca Rowan
The hues of fallen leaves, the warmth of the sun, the shelter of trees, the kindness of strangers, the many shades in a grey sky, or indeed the light within ourselves – when our head is in a cloud of distraction, it’s easy to miss out on so much of life. A shame, since life is so fleeting.
Just Looking is a project that explores how we can slow down, be more curious, notice more - and ultimately find more wonder in everyday experiences. It is run by myself, Menka Sanghvi, a researcher, writer, and designer working on mindful curiosity. In my personal practice, I'm also a meditator and a contemplative photographer. I created Just Looking to share what's inspiring me.
In the newsletters (or Letters, as I prefer to call them), we cover two themes: perception and perspective. The first is about the senses and becoming quiet enough internally to be able to see more clearly. The second is about our understanding and interpretation of what we see, and the stories that we live with. Both are - in the words of Walt Whitman - about washing the gum from our eyes.
This project started as a series of events in 2017. A few of us would gather at a certain time and place - a park, a river, the financial district, a cemetery - I would lead some mindfulness exercises, we would collectively contemplate on a philosophical thought, and then go for a silent photowalk. Each time we met, it amazed me how effective these simple practices could be. From this emerged the Just Looking Letter as a way of sharing links and ideas with the group.
Since those early days, much has changed for me, and the local events have become less frequent (although, I still love doing them when possible). The Letters, however, have gained a global readership, which has inspired me to keep writing, sharing, and connecting with people. I try to create a feedback loop so that stories and images from the community are shared back for mutual inspiration.
When it comes to a business model, I am inspired by Service Space's experiments in non-market logic. My aim here is to create a series of offerings for the community that will be as accessible and inclusive as possible.
So here we are, a growing community of “Good Lookers” connected in our humble intention to slow down and notice more. Thank you for your interest. I'd recommend diving into archives to see if this is something that could add fuel to your journey. If so, feel free to join us. And consider supporting the project.