Archives for posts with tag: photography

I am sitting at our dining room table, across from the cabinet
that holds our family treasures. The glass door and panels allow
me to see crystal goblets, Italian glass, ceramics, a silver mirror
set on its side to catch the light, cheap things barely treasure,
simple sentiments made real. Now, my reflection is overlaid
upon these objects, transparent in the glass face of the cabinet.
The room I’m in faces another, second room in the cabinet.
Within it a doorway leads to a living room and past that
a door that leads outside. There is a window in that door,
reflected in the glass of the cabinet door, and again within
the silver hand mirror. Each holds a miniature picture
of a window to that world, reversed behind me. The thought
of another world waiting to be seen through that window
fills me with inexplicable fear. I want a photograph to exhibit,
that captures this moment of apprehension, this only chance
to look through a window into another world. I want to be sure
everything in that world, waiting outside that door is pictured.
All of it, crammed within that little window, reflected in this glass
passing through my image, captured and displayed within this cabinet
of treasures, so I can’t tell where I end or another world begins.

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Put the picture back into the frame. Picture it upon the wall.
Tear down the wall and see a valley before you that is filled with good things.
Worship that which appears.
Record the moment you define what you are reading.
Make the frame, seize the earth, place it firmly in its place.
Fix the stars upon their paths. Say to yawning chasms,
“Smile for the camera.”

Put yourself into the frame,
take the photograph.
The camera becomes you.
In this landscape,
you will always be real;
fixed in place in time.

Modern landscape includes kitsch architecture, styles of facade, advertising signage, antique service stations … we project our nostalgia for history onto self generated past landscape.
We want a time when everyone agreed what happened. The fabulous time of tranquil forests, fertile orchards, and clear streams. Instead, we have our modern city—we are no longer a community of souls subjugating the unexpected, we are facets of each other tunneling through the creation of a new abstract order—we have transformed our landscape into psychic topography and move ever deeper into the photograph/painting/map of thought—

The lens changes, the lion is the chimera, the sign that rhymes, that sells
the moment by moment flick of motion, new frames in the wilderness,
the promise of free land that sent us roaming in search of a part
of ourselves, that set us to run into/after/over each other;
we stand on stacked landscapes to get a better view.

We obliterate the wild within our architecture, and believe/explain
it is our landscape. We have forgotten our tools only anthropomorphize
that which is already human — you and me. We believe we see a lion.
Then the landscape is very alive; it scares us.

The art of landscape imposes organization upon the chaotic, it is the human discovery of pattern and principle within prima materia. Renaissance landscapes would often feature a city upon the horizon, to announce man’s defining presence. Landscape subdues the wild, the unknown, the lair of the lion and the wolf.

Landscape can be neutral, blank; the mirror waits for a face to fill it.
Nothing moves, nothing intrudes, the forest and the fields contain their disorder and do not render it balanced.
The horizon is exact, even the picture of a lion that peers from dark shadows,
he stares impassively from the mouth of the cave that is his home.

The lion is at home within the moment of the forest.
The outlines of the crests of the trees, the branches, the leaves
melt into trunks that dwindle into an infinite reduction of light and shadow,
brush stroke and pigment. We delight to believe we discern order,
the hierarchy of meaning, it is apparent as we behold the landscape;
not as we render it in the gut grip moment of apprehension what is the wild.

Walking through the field, I stare at my feet, watch the endless quilt of leaves, grass, green, brown, light, rocks, burgundy, violet, scarlet, shadows, dirt, toads reel past until the photographer stops, a sudden balance expresses itself, comes into focus, only apparent if exposed. The film will convince  the viewer this really exists; it already exists like this in my mind.

I walk to this place to find the picture exists, motionless, waiting for my photograph.
My film is proof that free will and fate are a record of discovery;
in this frame I make event/meaning out of things unexamined.
My camera maintains its silent illusion; my new landscape is this solid moment.

Light records time. My eye captures what the mirror defines/finds this instant.

Landscape is an event created/discovered in abstract; we make an action and define it as found in nature. Consider the balance of colour, form, texture, the beautiful, the tragic, the boundless, what is surreal, what is construct; it is what surrounds us—the idea of landscape is inevitable like a universal right. We plant the seed of civilization in our wilderness and put a fence around it.

Put a frame around it; choice makes meaning where it finds it.

Photograph records a frame.
Our palette is a choice of manipulation;
colour manifests in our science of technology and we
evolve to make real the mechanik of vision production.
The camera/photograph creates the illusion of sight.
Within the moment we not only record the art of landscape,
we project the act of landscape, from within the frame
into what surrounds us. As if we had never seen it before.

“Just to be good, to keep life pure from degrading elements, to make it constantly helpful in little ways to those who are touched by it, to keep one’s spirit always sweet and to avoid all manner of petty anger and irritability— that is an ideal as noble as it is difficult.”
Edward Howard Griggs.

He looks like a fighter who has lost.
He stares at the camera somewhat off kilter,
somewhat dazed, somewhat prepared to pound
the bejesus out of you. His hand rests before him,
swollen, as if it had been punching all his life.
His head rests on the hospital bed iron frame
and the bed light behind him only serves to
illuminate that which radiates from him.

Bloody, but unbowed, I come from a line
that proudly claims to rise from defeat—
I see it in his eyes, they say it,
“I must be true.”

Sorting through a box of family photographs
I find a picture shot through a window—
framed within it is a river? an inlet to the sea?
I cannot say. There is a rowboat tethered
just outside. The photo is blue and green,
the red leeched out with age. Was I ever
there? Did I look out that window, wish to
take that rowboat and float with the current
to the sea, to a wide world that beckoned
beyond that distant room? I cannot say.

I look for a picture of myself
so I can picture me as you do.
flipping through the photographs,
I look for the one that will explain
me to me in a language I can understand.
Eyebrows, noses, hair and ears
of generations parade before me,
sepia print, kodachrome grey, colours and all that
dangle a key about me, an interview
in my spare time on the family radio
—speak to your ancestors now Ward—
fumble to the microphone, mumble
“hold on a moment, there’s a picture here
that will explain everything, just let me find it.”

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