It's All About The Journey
“The secret of health for both mind and body is not to mourn for the past, not worry about the future, or anticipate troubles, but to live in the present moment wisely and earnestly.”
This quote attributed to Buddha immediately resonated with me because the idea of appreciating the present is central to this series. So often, a preoccupation with the past, or anticipation of the future, overshadows an enjoyment of our surroundings in the moment. Ironically, photography contributes to this dilemma, because once a shot is taken it becomes a moment frozen in time and thus is time past. Or, in developing a series, time is spent reviewing work and thinking about future shots.
The present exists in that fleeting moment between sighting the subject and pressing the shutter. It is a transitory moment, which is instantaneous and intuitive. It is a moment that is spent observing two doves on wet steps, or the gentle undulation of a curtain in a soft breeze. It is a moment that is made extraordinary by the play of sunlight and shadows, or the dance of reflections in the aftermath of rain. The present is often only a pause between past and future, but hopefully this series conveys something of the wonder and intensity of that moment.
Remembrance of Things Past
The sound of the crow in the context of one landscape is just a sound, and in another it is the trigger for imagination and memory. I gave little thought to this notion until the death of my parents. With their death, I felt disconnected from the land of my birth, having lived over half my life in another country. Only then did I begin to understand the significance of my homeland, and how with each visit “home” I would eagerly anticipate my first glimpse of the countryside and then would feel that all was right with the world.
This land carries within it natural and manmade references that are rich and evocative: The worn stones of steps, buildings, and graveyards that speak of history spanning centuries; the perfusion of blossom in the Spring; the exquisite light in late Autumn shaping the land and inspiring untold poets and painters; the old and venerable trees that have offered shade and beauty to successive generations. These are some of the visual cues that give me an emotional connection to the land of my birth. It is a land steeped in the history of all those who have gone before me. I hope in this series I convey something of this feeling.
This series is located at what I call the edge of the world, the place where the land meets the sea. For some, this is a primordial place bringing to mind our earliest ancestors, while for others it is a spot to think about a homeland beyond the horizon, and for yet others it is a place of laughter and summer fun. For me it is a place that is the sum of all these moments and more, because it is where, if only for an instance, the traces of our lives entwine with others.
These traces are found in the ever changing patterns of the receding surf, or in the grains of sands that are constantly reshaped by the elements. They are evident in the signs of absence indicating presence. They are also seen in the sea spray which when illuminated by the light gives a ghostly presence to all in its path. At the edge of the world, people pause and then are gone but the influence of their presence lingers, just as footprints in the sand remain for a moment before disappearing with the changing tide.
Poetics of the Landscape
Each season brings with it a certain beauty. For me that season is late autumn. At this time of the year bucolic scenes of summer give way to patterns of abstraction as the mist hovers over the countryside, both obscuring and giving form, revealing the geometry of the dormant land. The trees, having shed their leaves become graceful silhouettes. In turn, roads no longer hidden by summer leaves become elegant lines and curves, appearing in the distance to entwine with streams and rivers like a musical chord first played by the strings then taken up by the woodwinds. Muddy tracks become patterns of possibilities, leading not only to a destination, but also to a revelation of intricate forms. As a result of the autumn mist, I see the landscape anew.
Here and Elsewhere
This series is not about a specific city, but rather is about my experience of “the city”. I thrive on the element of chance, and cities nourish this with unpredictable moments. They are a place where paths overlap and intersect, causing sensory overload as I absorb the visual feast that a metropolis offers. In the endless motion, my impressions are continually changing as one scene entwines with another producing a world that is slightly askew. The result is a complex layering of the urban landscape that is ever changing in my mind’s eye.
A Dream of a Faraway Place
My series, “A Dream of a Faraway Place” explores difference and familiarity in the landscape of my travels. As this work evolved, I discovered that images made in a distant land reminded me of places close to home, and vice versa. This was disorienting. I felt as if I were seeing the world through the soft focus of dreams where memories fragment and merge, producing a remembrance of a time and place that is both real and imagined.
My images are populated with rivers, trees, chairs, bridges and boats, common to most countries. Present is the ubiquitous umbrella. Architectural and natural forms suggest their origins, and locales elsewhere.
My intent in using the soft focus imagery of zone plate is to point to the uncertainty inherent in dreams. In addition, I use black and white film to remove any cultural signifiers that would be evident in color. I wish to convey to the viewer both the image fixed in time, and the suggestion of the images as a dream sequence that reveals and conceals places that may or may not be where we thought them to be.