Pascal Press presents the new Inspired by Nature gift book series from Australian photographer Steve Parish. Each of the eight books showcases a selection of Steve's most stunning nature photographs, complemented by inspirational passages written by Steve and his wife, Kate. Titled Joy, Creativity, Healing, Gratitude, Freedom, Acceptance, Consciousness and Compassion, these gorgeous books are perfect gifts for that special someone.
The eight books in this series offer insights into creating a rich and fulfilling life connected to the soul and nature. There is no handbook to life given to us when we enter this world. We are born into a diversity of life situations which we will accept or deny, growing and learning, adapting and searching " each of us finding a path, each of us on a quest for our own reasons for being. This series aims to help you touch those moments when time stops and space is created, when emotion fades, stress disappears and your true self and life's meaning are glimpsed.
The eight titles in the series are Joy, Creativity, Healing, Gratitude, Freedom, Acceptance, Consciousness and Compassion.
For more than four decades, award-winning photographer and OAM recipient Steve Parish's greatest inspiration has been capturing the essence of this vast land on film. His creative photographic journeys have left him with a library of more than 600,000 photographs " unrivalled by other Australian photographers. He is regularly involved with conservation efforts and frequently lends his time and voice to help encourage others to join the cause for wildlife conservation. The Inspired by Nature series reflects Steve's generous heart and philosophical nature. Visit www.steveparish.com.au for more information.
Inspired by Nature
Author: Steve Parish
ISBN: 9781922123756 Joy
RRP: $9.95 each
Question: What inspired the Inspired by Nature series?
Steve Parish: The inspiration for this series comes from our life experiences, journeys of self-discovery and, for both of us, a connection with nature has been a -home base' providing grounding.
I have written, photographed and published to the -Inspired by Nature' theme over many years long believing that a true connection with nature can provide humans with spiritual, physical and mental strength to cope with life's many challenges.
Together, Kate and I created the -Inspired by Nature' series of gift books to offer insights into creating a rich and fulfilling life connected to soul and nature. We wanted to create small accessible individual titles which could be shared with ease.
Question: Why was it important to your to complement your photographs with inspirational passages written by you and your wife?
Steve Parish: The theme for the books reflects the type of life we wish to lead and thus the books were a natural extension of the way we think. Nature has brought balance and reflection to my life and I wanted to share this in a world where nature seems largely forgotten in the political and media worlds, and anxiety and depression are at levels never previously recorded.
While images tell their own story, how the story is interpreted will vary from viewer to viewer based on individual life experience. It may be the colour, the texture, the form the overall design of an images, or it may be that the content triggers a previous encounter and its associated memories. So, by choosing a thought, a quote, a teaching, an idea, we are able to somewhat guide the readers interpretation. Of course this is not essential, viewers are free to take their own journey and this is why we decided not to individually caption the images.
Question: Can you talk us through the titles of the eight books in the Inspired by Nature series?
Steve Parish: Creativity is often associated with artistic expression, but we believe the meaning encompasses the expression of the soul. It is the idea that whether making tea or painting a picture, creativity may flow. Every activity of the day, big or small, is part of a unique journey as a creator. We wanted to encourage readers to use the inspiration provided in this book to help them unleash and engage their passion and to bring creativity and vitality to each day, because this is so important to us.
Joy, we suggest, is ready to be experienced in the now moment. There is no need to wait for anything in your life to happen. Choose to be joyful right now. This is so pertinent in the face of adversity, while negativity will undoubtedly visit, it is good to remember to be joyful as well. You may feel like rolling on your back and giggling insanely. Through joy we can begin to express gratitude for who we are and our place in the world. We can gain perspective of our lives and share good energy with all.
Gratitude can be a positive experience through which we express thanks for the smallest gifts of life. When life is difficult then a King Parrot pays a visit you on the verandah while having breakfast, a moment of gratitude for such beauty can lighten the load. Through gratitude, we learn to respect the relationships between nature, others and ourselves, and how to move forward with our lives. We also wanted a book in the series that encourages the acts of both giving and receiving.
Healing is vital in a life that will be challenging and uncertain at times. We may have neglected our health or those we love, and forgotten how to have fun and relax. This has been a particular challenge for me and setting time aside to allow healing is a challenge. The impact of enforced change may promote a sudden awakening; this happened to me when our business went into receivership as a result of the 2011 floods here in Brisbane.
In our own lives, Kate and I take an hour every morning to contemplate the answers to these questions and to focus on healing. It has been transformational in our relationship. So it was particularly important to us to create a book that promoted reflection and reconnection, an accessible little book that encouraged the healing process.
Freedom, ah sweet freedom, don't we all long for it! This book is all about conscious love through knowing who we really are while at the same time freeing ourselves from the shackles of the mind. This, we believe, can bring us to a place of peace. One of my greatest life discoveries was when I realised that I could benefit when I managed my mind; rather than have it managing me. I can now clearly witness when my mind drops into stories from the past or the future. It helps to remember we can never live in the past or the future, there is only the present moment. The ability to 'witness' when I stray into -mind stories' is now the most important skill I have acquired. This and the realisation that -I am not what I do', which was triggered when the company was liquidated in the aftermath of the Brisbane flood, was another major blessing; a blessing that brought considerable freedom into my life. This little book could well have been a -big book'
Acceptance has been easy for Kate and a bit of a struggle for me. I had to learn the hard way that when I resisted what life brought me, and thought of the challenges as insurmountable hurdles, I was short-changing myself from the learning experience of what IS. So it was an obvious title and we wanted to encourage readers to bring themselves to a place of happiness and peace where acceptance also allowed acceptance, not only of life situations, but also of others and all life.
Compassion is such an important addition to the series and it is about the process of awakening, of living in the moment, of feeling connected to all things, including the natural world, with compassion for the suffering of others. Feeling compassion for self as well and treating self and others with kindness and mindful action. We wanted a little book that encouraged the practice of compassion every day using the mindful moments suggested in the book as a guide.
Consciousness is a title that encourages readers to first become aware that they are thinking and questioning their thoughts. This is what I went through and helped me to dissolve the pain of the past and the fear of the future. We wanted readers to recognise that the present moment is the only one they will ever have and it is happening right now. We also wanted to encourage readers to be mindful in every thought and action of every moment of every day. This, we believe, will bring a closeness to the soul state of heart-connected ISness.
To further encourage a daily mindful practice to pay attention to what is happening around you in the present moment, this we believe will bring peace and happiness. It certainly works for us.
Question: What do you hope readers take away from these books?
Steve Parish: We believe that conscious love through knowing who you really are, frees you from the shackles of the mind and brings you to a place of peace and happiness. Choosing a positive focus in life has helped me through considerable challenge by creating energy to flow towards being happy rather than towards negative outcomes.
We want our readers to be inspired in every moment of their lives to see and believe that they, too, can choose to create a life created by their heart's desire. I particularly focus on -a reason for being' in my photography seminars and workshops and feel incredibly blessed to have had a purpose in life resulting from my own creative life journey.
Both of us believe that conscious love through knowing who you really are frees you from the shackles of the mind and brings you to a place of peace and happiness. Choice of a positive focus in life enables energy to flow towards happiness. Connection with what is written in any one of the books can provide a place to start the journey towards fulfilment.
We want our readers to be inspired in every moment of their lives to see and believe that they can choose to create a life of their hearts desire. I particularly focus on -a reason for being' in my photography seminars and workshops and feel incredibly blessed in having had a purpose in life through my own creative life journey.
Question: What inspires you when you are working with your cameras?
Steve Parish: The content of a picture always comes first, particular the landscape type, a species of plant and or an animal. Being a naturalist and a teacher at heart I want to know what it is I am recording with my camera. Over many years I have developed the ability of being able to switch between educator and artist. As an educator I am more interested in identification and as an artist more about feeling, sometimes a blend happens and an images speaks with more impact. Nonetheless the inspiration comes from a blend of shape, form, colour, texture and of course the mood of the moment.
Question: Have you enjoyed working with Pascal Press?
Steve Parish: The development of this project grew from the time Pascal Press purchased our publishing Company early in 2012. Steve Parish Publishing, went into liquidation due to the 2011 floods so it was initially a distressing time; a time when we both needed to draw considerable inner strength as we all do when a huge change occurs in our lives. So, what better time for Pascal and Parish to join hands on an uplifting project. Fortunately Pascal's owner and staff shared our philosophy towards nature and so the process of developing this series has been a positive one.
Interview by Brooke Hunter