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Photographs and Text by Jeff Kauffman
Having a nature bath in a wide empty space refreshes the soul. With all the empty space around you, there’s first a sense of barren nothingness. Drop your modern conveniences and your backpack. Then, stand or sit up tall and breathe deeply. Relax and “shed your monkeys.” Now, for the next 10 to 20 minutes, consciously sense each element of your surroundings. See the infinity of the horizon. Feel the sun and the breeze. Smell the air. Listen to the birds. Take it all in and become part of the sensory experience. The nature bath really is refreshing. And sometimes, it can be transcendental.
Nature Bathing stems from Japanese practice called shinrin-yoku, which means ‘taking in the forest’. The practice encourages spending time alone in a forest or other natural area unspoiled by humans and then simply using your five senses to experience your surroundings. The health benefits include stress reduction, disease prevention, and an improved sense of well-being.
Where can you experience a nature bath in a wide empty space? Any place outdoors where the main feature of your view is the horizon and there are no sights, sounds, and other trappings of human civilization (including other humans). Beaches, nature preserves, and large parks are perfect places. Little-used hiking trails and river banks are good too. The artworks in this project were made at or near coastal beaches, but the experience can be had in other environments as well. Maybe those places will be explored in a future article.
The empty spaces project was photographed over a number of years at various locations in Texas and California. The photographer captured the images using a Nikon D800 dSLR in natural light and used Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop to process the raw images.
Jeff Kauffman is an art photographer in Austin, Texas USA. His work has appeared worldwide in publications, art festivals, and commercial venues. Selected works are available for purchase from these fine-art and image licensing outlets.
- Limited Edition, signed original prints: Saatchi Art
- Publication and Stock Photography: Arcangel Images | Alamy
- Art for Corporate, Hospitality, and Interior Design projects: IndieWalls | Nine Dot Arts | Turning Art