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Awakened by Beauty: Intimate Conversations about Contemplative Photography

Thu July 30, 2020 @ 2:00 pm - 3:30 pm

|Recurring Event (See all)

An event every week that begins at 2:00 pm on Thursday, repeating until Fri August 21, 2020

Madison, WI — Four world-renowned photographers and teachers will come together for a rare opportunity to share their work not only as a professional path, but as a contemplative practice. In a series of intimate conversations they will show some of the compelling images they have captured, and discuss how photography has shaped and deepened their relationship to themselves and to the world. The event will be hosted by the Threshold Virtual Wheelhouse and led by Flint Sparks, PhD on four consecutive Thursdays July 30, August 6, 13, and 20, 2020, 2:00 -3:30 pm, CST.

Tickets for the series are available:

It is an incredible honor and privilege to host these acclaimed guests, three of whom will be coming to us from their homes in Molokai, Hawaii and one from his home in Pennsylvania. We are grateful for this rare opportunity to have them available and willing to share themselves with us. We anticipate a worldwide audience, literally.

“We have so many reasons why we photograph… Photography can ignite our deepest longing for a direct connection with the beauty and magic of life…the light and the shadow,” says Flint Sparks, PhD, a former psychologist, an ordained Zen Buddhist Priest, a celebrated teacher and an inspiring photographer in his own right ( Sparks invited his photography mentors, colleagues, and friends to speak about the passion that called them to this path and what opened up to them when they followed it.

The series will open on July 30 with a presentation by Sparks titled “Photography as a Spiritual Practice”. On August 6, Sparks will host John Barclay, an award-winning freelance photographer, instructor, and inspirational speaker ( Barclay will speak about “Creativity and the Heart of Contemplative Photography”. Rikki Cooke, a professional photographer who for over 40 years traveled the globe primarily on assignments for National Geographic ( will join Sparks on August 13. His presentation will focus on “Seeing Simply, Simply Seeing”. The series will close August 20 with Dewitt Jones, one of America’s top professional photographers and photojournalists ( Jones spent 20 years with National Geographic, directed documentary films, published numerous books, and is a world-class speaker. He will share his “Visual Prayers and Celebrating What’s Right”.

“Awakened by Beauty is not about photographic techniques and is not meant only for photographers”, says Flint Sparks. It is offered to anyone and everyone who is drawn to and curious about seeing and capturing images of objects, scenes, moments that have resonance for them. These images can be captured on a smartphone or a simple camera. They allow us all to dive below the surface of everyday experience in a richer and deeper way. They open a door for sharing our life experiences in an immediate and engaging way.

Tickets are offered, accordingly, in two price tiers, professional photographer ($100-$150) and inspired seer ($10-$50). Proceeds from the event will support the presenters and organizers and attendees are offered opportunities for generosity in both tiers.

A Madison group of contemplative photographers who are also Buddhist practitioners has guided the development of this series over the past few months. This group has wanted to make sure that the benefits of this series inspire and stimulate creativity, and are shared in our own community, especially amongst youth and communities of color. The group is working with local photographers, artists, and youth organizers to create community projects around this topic. A portion of the proceeds from this event will be used as seed money for these projects. Additional sponsors are being identified and approached. Please contact us if you are interested in supporting these projects.

The Threshold Wheelhouse is the virtual platform of Threshold, a community gathering, event, and coworking space on Atwood Ave. on Madison’s near east side. With the inevitable closure of our physical building in mid-March, we initiated an online hosting space for presentations, conversations, performances, workshops, and trainings.

For more information contact: or call Efrat Livny, Threshold Director, 608/220-8849.



Submit your event to the WORT calendar.

When submitting events, you must choose at least one music genre for it to be published. NOTEEvents are not published immediately, so please do not submit an event more than once–it will show up after being approved.

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