It is the function of art
to renew perception.
What we are familiar
with we cease to see.
- Anais Nin
One of my goals in 2013 as I revisited near to hand and familiar locations was to renew my perception. It wasn't enough to just experience these places again. I wanted to see them differently. I wanted to see things I overlooked before. I wanted to "re-boot" my perceptual skills.
Of course I wasn't successful 100% of the time...probably not even 50% of the time. When it did occur it was wonderful and surprisingly subtle. Like this simple photograph of back lit leaves. I never really thought about the translucency of leaves before. I thought of them as "solid" shapes hanging onto twigs and branches. But this image illustrated that translucent quality. I began to experience a whole new appreciation of something I see everyday and never thought about. That got me thinking...
Botanically speaking, leaves are like little filters that absorb and remove carbon dioxide (the nasty stuff we spew into the atmosphere and which is contributing to global climate change) and release purified oxygen. They breath in our waste and exhale what allows us to live in the first place. This image seemed to create a metaphor of that process for me and made me think of something I hadn't thought much of since my biology class in high school. ***
The familiar, the over looked, is transformed by the contemplative photographic image. The extremely swallow depth of field reduced the sunlight to large round shapes and enhanced the shadow effects. I'm not even sure why I made this image in the first place except the light attracted my attention and instead of overlooking a seemingly "blah" image, I gathered it in...no judgements.
A wonderful and selfless dance was going on in these leaves as they tried to correct our misuse of the environment simply and silently every day. It is one of those everyday miracles we tend to pass by. Instead, this photograph made me want to elevate the simple leaf to sainthood!
*** In case you'd like to re-learn the leaf's amazing process of photosynthesis, you can click on this link. ( I guess you can't take the teacher out of the contemplative photographer but it is so interesting...really! )