When I am in London, I enjoy going to many of the tourist spots– like the British Museum. I am not sure many Londoners ever go there. There is a sarcophagus in the museum that is so beautiful– the first time I saw it, I was overcome. I began to cry. Seeing the Elgin Marbles was a profound experience for me. As was walking amidst the Assyrian and Egyptian statues. I took this photograph of a Buddha statue after spending many hours sketching and meditating with the Buddha. Seeing the photograph calms me even now.
A few years ago I took a photography class. I decided to do a photo shoot for a project for the class. Because it was Halloween, I asked participants to come, dress up in spooky attire, and allow me to take photographs of them. The afternoon and evening turned out to be rainy and so I set up in my basement a backdrop. The lighting I had available was not necessarily what I would have preferred. Many of the photographs were quite stunning and made striking by the harsh lighting provided by several Ott lights. I would like to do another photo shoot with a super heroes theme!
A couple years ago I visited New Orleans at the start of Mardi Gras. New Orleans is truly one of the great cities of the world! There is no place like it! I went on my own because I was researching material for a book and I just wanted a bit of fun. I ate beignets and drank coffee at the Cafe Du Monde. Ghost walking tours are readily available and I walked the streets with a guide telling me of all the haunts such as the LaLaurie House. I visited Marie LaVeau’s grave. Street music played on every corner. I watched the Mardi Gras parades and dodged handfuls of flung beads. This picture was from the Krewe of Cork’s parade as the Krewe was assembling to parade. It shows two Mardi Gras paraders in pink babydoll costumes, which is one category of traditional costumes.
Despite being an amateur photographer for a while now, I decided just recently to start sharing some of the photographs I shot over the last handful of years. For this reason, I offer this photo.
This photograph of three boys was taken in Paris in one of the squares near the Canal St. Martin. Paris is architecturally a beautiful city with many statues and inscriptions declaring liberty and equality. I loved how the lion was so strong and appeared to my eye to be protecting the boys while they played in the nearby fountain and climbed over the statues.
I like to look through a camera lens and discover what stories I can find.
The other morning I was driving my car over the bridge near my house and I looked towards the river. The sun hitting the water in the early morning caused steam to rise from the river. It looked beautiful. Mysterious. There are moments where all the chatter in my soul is stilled by just looking around at my surroundings. I am constantly mesmerized by the interplay of water and light. Snow, ice, steam, waves. All one substance depending on temperature. And there is nothing more playful in all of existence than light. It transforms. It is particle and wave. It illuminates, colors, casts shadows.
I went for a walk this morning to see the ice, snow, waves and steam of the river. This is a temporal thing. These pictures are only from this particularly frosty morning at a particular hour. They could not have happened in exactly the same way on another day. That reminder of being in the moment and overcome by the ecstasy of it centers me.
I was first introduced to the environmental artist Andy Goldsworthy when I took a design class. We watched the documentary directed by Thomas Reidelsheimer titled “Rivers and Tides.” Since then I have watched this film many more times. Andy Goldsworthy has been quoted as saying: “I find some of my new works disturbing, just as I find nature as a whole disturbing. The landscape is often perceived as pastoral, pretty, beautiful – something to be enjoyed as a backdrop to your weekend before going back to the nitty-gritty of urban life. But anybody who works the land knows it’s not like that. Nature can be harsh – difficult and brutal, as well as beautiful. You couldn’t walk five minutes from here without coming across something that is dead or decaying.” He is nothing short of a modern day druid in my estimation.
Goldsworthy who from the age of 13 worked as a labourer on farms in his native Britain has stated that the repetitive nature of farm work is similar to constructing sculpture. The sensibilities of working close to nature are seen in Goldsworthy’s work. He uses all natural materials which often include brightly-coloured flowers, icicles, leaves, mud, pinecones, snow, stone, twigs, and thorns. Further, he often sculpts with only his bare hands and teeth to shape his materials and position them where he wants them to effect the whole. He has been quoted as saying, “I think it’s incredibly brave to be working with flowers and leaves and petals. But I have to: I can’t edit the materials I work with. My remit is to work with nature as a whole.” Many of his sculptures are location specific. And they have a temporal element. In “Rivers and Tides” he builds a korm that is made from slate found near the ocean. As he is building the korm, the tide comes in. The rising water changes the aspect and gives the sculpture added poignancy.
Because Goldsworthy’s art is often ephemeral and transient, photography plays a critical part. For example, the melting of a sculpture of ice becomes as important as the form at its peak of completion or a wall of sculpted mud that dries unevenly displays beauty in its transitions and all of the transformations are captured in photographs.
According to Goldsworthy, “Each work grows, stays, decays – integral parts of a cycle which the photograph shows at its heights, marking the moment when the work is most alive. There is an intensity about a work at its peak that I hope is expressed in the image. Process and decay are implicit.” Goldsworthy’s art is not a static form, it highlights the transitory nature of creation. It shows change as a natural and beautiful process.