Sunday, January 4, 2015

The Poetry of Place: 26 December, 2014

   Between the holidays and alternating storms of heavy snow and rain, I hadn't stopped at the pond for several days.  The day after Christmas I ventured out and the pond delighted me, yet again.

   On the easterly shore the ice was in shadow but the low sun illuminated the upper parts of shoreline trees creating a golden reflection in the unfrozen water along the edge that I found rather startling.

   I had received a calendar of Celtic Blessings for Christmas and January's blessing is:

Walk through the world
with hearts on fire.

     Somehow this seemed to fit the pond on this day.  It seemed to be on fire beneath the ice. There is a pulsating life beneath the frozen surface.  We seem to think that things "die" in the winter.  They simply slumber and sometimes they toss in their sleep.

   The fire of passion isn't often associated with a life of contemplation but I feel that unless we have that burning in the belly our photographs will never achieve their potential.  Millions upon millions of photographs are made everyday yet few achieve the level of passionate engagement.  But when they do, oh, what an amazing thing it is.


13 comments:

foxysue said...

This is an interesting comment: "The fire of passion isn't often associated with a life of contemplation" and without wanting to sound too judgemental I feel this element is often missing in some forms of contemplative photography and I am not wowed! But in this case I see and feel the fire! x

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you Sue! I would agree with you as well. A lot of contemplative photography is very cerebral...almost an intellectual exercise. I sometimes see that in my work as well. I guess at times the passion is implied rather than expressed more literally as I felt it was in this image.

foxysue said...

Ah you are rousing my cerebral sparks as well as my passion, a whole area of contemplation I'm thinking - I will have to work a post around this, not being a purist in the 'contemplative' photography field you understand! LOL

Carol said...

But the passion is what makes you pursue - perhaps the passion centers on LIFE more than on outcome.
This pond image is beautiful, Patricia - you saw something rare!

kimmanleyort said...

First of all, wow Patricia, what a moment you experienced at the pond. That strong golden colour does make it seem as if the pond is on fire. Wouldn't it be great if we could all reflect that fire within us.

Also, an interesting discussion on contemplative photography - that it often comes across as a cerebral exercise. Because I believe that it's not supposed to be cerebral at all. It doesn't necessarily have to wow, but the heart should be there.

Patricia Turner said...

Yes, I think you are right. Photography may have opened my eyes but it is the heart's fire that makes me want to go out and experience!

Patricia Turner said...

First of all, thank you Kim for your kind words. I think that what I was trying to get at with the comment "cerebral", is that the image comes more from "head choices" as opposed to "heart choices". We think about framing and composition and even the visual elements that are present in what is in front of us. It often leads to a beautiful photograph...the artistic creation but contemplative photography, at least for me, is more about the emotive response to the landscape...not the intellectual response. Also, I often find the contemplation can come after the fact, when we sit with and open our hearts to the image in front of us...when we let the image speak to us.

foxysue said...

I am really loving this chat, I have read up a bit on contemplative photography but just like all the controls on some sophisticated equipment I soon get confused! My photography always comes from the heart though. I am going to give more time to studying this subject.

I think threads like this are really exciting, we should chat more often?

Thank you to all.

Patricia Turner said...

Contemplative photography, like so many things, is in the eye and heart of the practitioner I feel. When you define something, you limit it. We all must create our own definition...don't be over whelmed by everything you read. Stay true to your heart and you will not go wrong. I can only offer, on this blog, my practice of contemplative photography but it is not the only way by any means. This way works for me, you will find the way that works for you I'm sure.

kimmanleyort said...

Yes, it's good to talk about it - with all of you!

I agree with you, Patricia, that contemplative photos sometimes comes across as cerebral. It's something I struggle with because I want to make a good photograph, and even when the heart was there initially, my attempts to design it perfectly, sometimes cover up the heart.

I also am drawn to Patricia's approach to contemplation after the fact, something that's missing from a lot of contemplative photography writings.

Patricia Turner said...

I agree...I too am guilty of over thinking the "design part" but that comes from my art school training and the 30+ years I spent teaching art. I am getting better though on turning off that switch from time to time. Thank you for your comments!

Stacey Grossman said...

I love this discussion and am thinking of it after reading your most recent post on intuition. I know that my contemplative juices are flowing when my intuition tells me "you are in the right place at the right time, Stacey" .Whether or not I happen to be looking through the viewfinder is, in a way, secondary. This discussion on fire makes me think of my favorite mystic Catherine of Siena, who famously said "be who God meant you to be, and you will set the world on fire". Thank you for YOUR fire!

Patricia Turner said...

Thank you Stacy. I think the most important thing for a person in any medium is to stay true to yourself. We can learn from anyone but you must adapt the teachings to your own way of regarding and walking through the world. Anything less than that would be inauthentic.