The Meditation Makeover: Before and After

| 11/1/2011 2:35:19 PM

Tags: meditation, meditation retreats, dathun, photography, portraiture, Peter Seidler, Shambhala Times, Margret Aldrich,

Before and After 1 

What would a month of meditation do for you? In the portrait series “Before and After,” Peter Seidler photographs participants on their first and last days of dathun, a 30-day group meditation retreat. He tells the Shambhala Times:

I set up the “Before and After” project to explore the observable effects on practitioners after long periods of intense meditation practice. The question is: what are the observable changes after a period of intense practice?

Each participant in the project was asked to simply sit for a portrait on first day of dathun.... I photographed them against a consistent background. Prior to the photograph, I asked each person to consider what they were looking for in the practice period ahead. This was on day number one. Then, at the end of the program, after approximately thirty days of retreat, I asked each participant in the project to sit in front of the same background and asked each to consider what the experience of mediation retreat had been for them.... It’s clear from the results that the person in every one of the portraits has undergone an important transformative experience. I leave it to the viewer to draw their own conclusion.

Before and After 2 

Before and After 3 

Before and After 4 

Before and After 5 

Mike Wilson
12/3/2011 9:26:21 PM

This is kinda lame, actually. While I believe everyone could benefit from some rest and reflection, the effects shown here are clearly.. affected. Even the backgrounds have magical beams of light in the 'after' pix.

Kate Mann
12/2/2011 6:56:59 AM

And I meant to say "if you asked them to think of any experience that was positive." Meaning a loved one or a wonderful day of some kind...

Kate Mann
12/2/2011 6:55:04 AM

As an actor, I can say that while it's a nice thought, the first photo shows someone asked to pose for a photo without an intention, while for the after photo, they were told to imagine what meditation meant to them. While it looks to me like the meditation was a positive experience for each of them, you might have gotten a similar result if you asked them to think of an experience that was positive for them. It's all about intention and whether you are engaged and active in a thought.