When you really gaze at
something, you bring
it in inside you.
- John O'Donohue
I thought our winter weary souls could use a bit of a fragrant reminder of warmer days! I have been photographing flowers in the past year, something I never did much in my exclusively black and white days. This one is an image I made nine years ago and which I'd converted to black and white. I went back to the original file and looked at it in color. It was like seeing it again for the first time!
(This is a reminder to always photograph in color even if you intend to convert it to black and white later.)
My visual listening exercises are really about my attempt to somehow internalize the landscape...to bring it deep inside myself as John suggests. This cannot be done with a cursory glance...the fleeting look...but only with the intensely focused gaze. It really is the difference between looking and beholding. Staring into the lovely face of a flower is a wonderful thing to do. I remember how richly scented this one was, its large, velvety soft petals. I am more intimately connected to the landscape if I embrace it with all my senses, not just my eyes.
I really urge you to take your time and forge a connection with the landscape anyway you can. It may include merely sitting quietly or you may be guided by inspirational readings or you may, like I like to do from time to time, draw. Drawing, for me, makes a direct connection between myself and the landscape. I physically touch and translate its contours and textures onto the paper. It's not about creating works of art by any means, it's about creating relationship. Learn to internalize the landscape and your images will benefit from this interconnectedness.