Chris Aquino “Zen and the Quality of Pictures”, September 12, 2016

There is a process behind every photograph that we take.  Sometimes, it is in the forefront of our mind.  More often than not, it is a subtle hand guiding us a step this way or that, helping us to find the best angle, or telling us to wait just a moment longer for exactly the right light.  We know our best pictures when we see them, and we likely knew we were on to something special at the time.  How do we differentiate those special moments from the mundane ones?  What do they feel like?  What can we do to enhance the potential for those experiences again?.  Chris will discuss the concept behind the creative process as inspired by the book Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance by Robert Pirsig.  In the book, Pirsig is on an arduous journey to define “Quality,” and is often frustrated by its elusive nature.  Pirsig challenges the reader to question people’s tendency to accept empty style and to uncover the components of inspiration and preparation for a Quality experience.  This presentation will focus on using Pirsig’s definition of Quality to break down the creative photographic process into elements that people can recognize and nurture in order to help generate more of those special moments and images.

Chris Aquino is an instructor in the Morton Arboretum nature photography program. He has taught classes on photography fundamentals, composition, style, photographic inspiration, and seasonal themes.  He has given presentations to local camera clubs, and has led workshops together with Will Clay.  He also co-wrote a chapter in Will Clay’s e-book, Opus One, focusing on the compositional element of repetition and rhythm in an image.

Chris’s “day job” is teaching English at Wheaton Warrenville South High School.  There he also teaches a class on cinema studies.  Many of the concepts from that class have transferred to his photography, including the different interpretations of light, color, and the use of space.