"The best way to go into unknown territory
is to go in ignorant." - Dorothea Lange
This is one characteristic that I have the most trouble with...I get very attached to subjects and to places! But being passionate about your art doesn't mean being so obsessed with it that you can't put it aside when the time comes...as it inevitably will. Knowing when to "walk away" is healthy and surprisingly invigorating. Every once in awhile one has to wipe the slate clean and begin again. Over the past 7 years I have done it several times and it has always brought surprising results.
This allowed me to pay more attention to the land itself and, most particularly, the amazing skies. This led to a series called "Hebridean Skies" and THAT led to
February edition of Scottish Life Magazine!
I also had to "let go" of another attachment on that trip....portraits. I had come to South Uist to do portraits. After the successful exhibit and companion book, First Person Rural: a portrait of a Maine town, I thought, "Why not do the same thing on South Uist?" But the land and circumstances had other plans. Thankfully, I listened to what the land was telling me and the Hebridean Skies series was created.
He who defines himself
can't know who he really is...
He who clings to his work
will create nothing that endures.
If you want to accord with the Tao,
just do your job, then let go.
Tao te Ching - 24
There is a great sense of closure at the end of a project. Rural Geometry was one such project. I'd worked on it for 6 years and this past December held an exhibition of the resulting images. It was done. I'd learned a lot from that project and I wonder how I will approach the architecture of Paris this summer? Hopefully with refined but fresh eyes.
This non-attachment led me to create my favorite sky image at Loch Bee on South Uist. I had heard of the famous mute swans that live on the loch and went day after day in the hopes of seeing them. That persistence did not result in any swans but the loch had other lessons to teach.
"Sometimes I get to places just when God's ready to have someone click the shutter."- Ansel Adams
That's exactly how I felt when I came upon this sight! Even the tiny cow seemed heaven sent! It gave a sense of scale to the amazing clouds.
This photograph could also be an illustration of an important element of Taoist philosophy. Earth is but a reflection of Heaven...What is above is also below.
Now A Little Practice for the Week: