The Inner Path of Photography

We yearn for the taste of the sacred…and through our cameras discover it, the world, and ourselves.

Tag: images

Life as Science Fiction…

Truro, Massachusetts, September 11, 2010

Sometimes life can seem like a science fiction movie – strange and unfamiliar.

This image was shot during a Joel Meyerowitz weekend workshop, where we were pushed to stretch and work outside of our comfort zones. The location was surreal – an abandoned military base, with all kinds of empty and unusual looking structures.

Given a quick 15 minutes to shoot as the sun went down, this was the last image I grabbed as we were called into class.

I’m surprised to like it.  And I like the fact that I’m surprised, as I look and ask “Who is that person who made this image?” It’s so unlike images I have made before.

Photography gives us an opportunity to be in other worlds – visually, mentally, emotionally. We willingly place ourselves there, and although it can sometimes be uncomfortable, we enjoy the play and challenge of living in the unfamiliar and expressing our experience.

May we learn to do the same thing in life. Sometimes the world is romance; sometimes science fiction. If we find ourselves in the science fiction movie, perhaps we can appreciate its weirdness, its unknown possibilities, and make it a good one.

In the same way that we approach the changing world as creative photographers with curiosity, openness and willingness to be uncomfortable, may we be willing to maintain those qualities in the science fiction times of our lives.

Even when situations and circumstances are not totally in our control, we are still the movie makers.

We work with the tools we are given. We remember love, spirituality, creativity, and other qualities important to us that are the essence and beauty of life.

Romance or science fiction, it’s still our movie.

Photo of the Day, October 31, 2010

This little boy was at a Halloween party in 2008 at Moody Gardens, in Galveston, Texas.  This was barely a month and a half after Hurricane Ike hit, devastating the island.

I love his superhero costume and elegant stance, contrasted with his expression: childlike, vulnerable, and mature all at the same time. Who knows what he was feeling, or what was running through his mind?

Just as this little boy’s costume didn’t cover the complexity of what was happening inside, our “costumes” in life never hide who we truly are.

Inner spirit still shows through.

May you be able to play in life, with all of your costumes. And may you also take the risk, drop the superhero stance, and be your deepest self.

People will see and appreciate your inner truth and beauty.

Not the Image I’m usually drawn to…

Yesterday I went to the Monroe Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. They’re showing a collection of work by Carl Mydans, a photojournalist who worked for the Farm Security Administration in the 1930s, and for Life Magazine during World War II and beyond. The images are all striking….(see some of them here on the Monroe Gallery website.)

The image I was most drawn to is not found on the Monroe Gallery website…I wish it were, because it’s powerful and I’d love for you to see it.

It’s a picture from World War II time period. Taken in France, a woman is sitting in a chair  having her hair shaved off by another woman, with other women and a man looking on,  the women laughing meanly. Apparently they suspect the woman in the chair to be a German spy, and this is their way of handling it.

It’s not the kind of picture that I’m usually drawn to…but what caught my attention in this image was the man in the picture and his expression. He is looking over at the photographer, and the expression on his face is…guilty? embarassed? He’s been caught between the enjoyment that can be felt when you’re part of a group, belonging…and knowing that this isn’t really a good thing to do. And you see the connection between him and the photographer as he sees himself in the middle of this.

This is the beauty of Carl Mydan’s work and that of other photographers that I admire. A picture that would be powerful because of its subject matter (although not necessarily unusual, as many events like this have been documented in images), has one more element in it that reflects the complexity of human emotions and actions, the reflection of all of us in life, elevating it to that aspect of fine art that I look for, connect with, and aspire to myself.

In this image, Carl Mydan reminds us that things are not always clean and simple. I see in it a reflection of the challenges we meet often in our lives, of having to makes choices that may be confusing to us and require us to dig deeply to make sure that we’re acting in alignment with our values.

Perhaps the man in the image was only feeling badly for that one instant in time when the picture was shot…and then went right back to the jeering. Even so, Carl Mydan captured an instant of emotional recognition, and it is masterful.

By the way, Carl Mydan died in 2004, and there are only two prints made by him of this image known to exist at this time. All prints in this collection were printed and signed by Mydan. My understanding is that his estate does not appear to be interested in actively continuing to print his work; the negatives are now in selected institutions.

New “Feet Up Across the World!” Image

Remember when I wrote  a series of articles about how my one off the cuff picture of my feet in the bluebonnets turned into a series of signature images of feet where ever I went?

Here’s a new addition.

I’m in Truro/Provincetown, Massachusetts…getting ready for a workshop with Joel Meyerowitz, a master photographer who I greatly admire.

This is the view from my room’s balcony…historic cottages of Provincetown (and lovely feet of course!)

We start tomorrow afternoon…I’ll be sharing what I learned, stay tuned!

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