Tuan Pham – Photography as Zen Art

My friend Tuan Pham is at it again.  Back by popular demand he is providing his class Photography as Zen Art again at the National Arboretum throughout September and one running in October.

The National Arboretum only updates their website quarterly, so the class will not be posted there until September, but the link will work once they update it.  Here is their write-up that should be posted soon:

Workshop: Photography as Zen Art

September 13, 20, 27 and October 11 (4 sessions)

9:00 am – 12:00 pm

Using the Arboretum collections as inspiration, enhance your photographic vision and produce more meaningful images with lessons from this four-session workshop. Built upon the common denominator of photography and Zen – wise attention – this program incorporates several Zen creative practices, including relaxed awareness, mindfulness of perception, seeing with one eye, and more. These techniques enable you to find beauty wherever you are, loosen the grip of preoccupations and attachments, and capture images that reflect your true nature. For more class details, call the instructor at 703-855-9888. Required: digital camera, tripod, and means of sending digital images. Registration required.

The last class filled up fast, if you or someone you know might be interested.

Tuan is a lifelong practitioner of Buddhist meditation and his creativity in photography exploded when he began to apply the concept of “wise attention” to his practice of photography.  His story about how he discovered the beauty in his “photographs of nothing” is both entertaining and enlightening.  Traveling all that distance to produce photographs that he could have created anywhere is an amusing reminder of the beauty that surrounds us every day.

Tuan’s photography is now not only technically sound, it is emotive.  He has modified his perception so that he is not taking photographs of beautiful things, he is taking beautiful photographs of things.  It seems like a subtle linguistic difference, but the difference in his work is substantial.

A student, who must have been in the class with me this last spring, wrote this testimonial after the class.

Don’t forget to register in advance!  There are usually no seats available at the door.

Zen TTL Poster

More on The Beauty of Things

Zen Art Poster by Tuan PhamTuan Pham’s presentation of Zen Through the Lens is coming up at the National Arboretum on Saturday, February 8th from 10:00 am to 12:oo pm.

This is a great opportunity to learn from a master of relaxed attentiveness.  This style allows Tuan to produce one-of-a-kind images that are not only technically strong, but demonstrate an artistic subtlety.

Simplicity and visual design are apparent throughout Tuan’s portfolio and he is eager to teach others to produce art with their camera.

The Beauty of Things

My good friend Tuan Pham will be conducting a workshop and presentation at the National Arboretum in Washington DC in early 2014.   His presentation, “Beauty of Things Insubstantial, Insignificant and Untouchable” represents his Buddhist approach to photography and life in general.  His workshop is called “In Search of Artistic Personality” and will meet five consecutive Saturdays.

Beauty of Things by Tuan PhamBeauty of Things Insubstantial, Insignificant and Untouchable

Tuan’s Buddhist background has helped him develop a contemplative approach toward photography, mixing meditation and Wise Attention to see the beauty in things that others are willing to walk past.  This approach makes Tuan’s photography simple and compelling.  Tuan will share his methods for training your eyes and cultivating your mind to perceive your surroundings in an unbiased way; freeing you to create memorable images with a much deeper meaning.  Tuan is a life-long practitioner of mindful meditation and applies those principles to his photography.  The National Arboretum is one of Tuan’s favorite sites for nature photography, please join him for this unique opportunity to learn from one of our areas most accomplished amateur photographers.


8 February, 2014


10:00 am to 12:00 pm


United States National Arboretum

3501 New York Avenue, NE; Washington, D. C. 20002-1958

Tel: 202-245-2726    Fax: 202-245-4575

In Search of Artistic Personality

The workshop that Tuan will be leading will meet at the arboretum during the spring.  As of today, the workshop is still unscheduled.  Stay tuned for additional information.

Tuan’s teaching style is such that anyone with a camera, be it a DSLR, Point and Shoot or camera phone will be able to take advantage of his workshop.