Thursday, October 9, 2014

Gathering Breadcrumbs in Connecticut...

  It was a whirlwind day...a kaleidoscope of diverse experience.  It was not, in many ways, a very "contemplative day".  But, as always, there is much to contemplate in the photographs, the breadcrumbs, we gather along the way. 

The Soul speaks to us through images.
- Carl Jung

   We began with a ride on a beautifully restore steam train in Essex.  I had a flash back to my first portrait, of an engineer in Fort William, Scotland back in 2005.  The billowing steam was wonderful and I decided to revert to my "monochrome mode" for his image.  I will think about why, of all the train photographs I made, this partial view with half the image obscured by steam, is my favorite image.

   We next toured the eccentric castle of actor William Gillette who portrayed Sherlock Holmes on stage for the first time in the early 20th century.  The landscape, overlooking the Connecticut River, the building itself, all were stunning but I focused on a small, stain glass window in one of the bedrooms.  In many ways, we don't choose the images, they choose us.  There is something happening within us that turns our eyes, and hence our lenses, to certain things.  

The Soul never thinks 
without a picture.

- Aristotle

   Our final stop was the Abbey at Regina Laudis in Bethlehem, Connecticut.  We were there, you might say, on a mission.  (You can read about it in my photojournal entry for the day here...)  My two final breadcrumbs were gathered there.

   The first was a somewhat abstract rendition, in black and white, of the tree shadows on the side of an outbuilding on the abbey grounds.  Somehow, it seemed to compliment the photograph of the steam train I'd made earlier.  

   I think all my abstraction work at the pond recently has tuned my eyes into seeing these possibilities more clearly.  You would be rather hard pressed to know what it is you are looking at in this image.  The faint grooves in the siding are just descernable. I loved the subtle lights and darks.

   The final image is my icon for the day.  And in this case, it was actually one of the last photographs I made.  We had had an incredible day with so much to remember and think about but it was this gentle image of the two sheep bathed in the luscious late day light that will stay with me.  My friend and I plan to return to the abbey for a retreat in the months to come.  I hope to again receive permission to photograph in this lovely and contemplative landscape.   

   I think the day proved
to me that it isn't the number of photographs you make that matters but the quality of the experience you have in any given place.

   I love this final quote from Edward Weston that really speaks to the need for us to turn off the left brained analytical side of our self from time to time and just melt into the experience of the place.  Some places are meant to be felt rather that seen.  The abbey was one of those places for me.

To consult the rules of composition before making a picture is a little like consulting the law of gravitation before going for a walk.


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