Sunday, February 17, 2013

In Their Own Words - Minor White

"Surfaces reveal inner states - cameras
record surfaces.  I must somehow be a 
kind of microscope by which the 
underlying forces of spirit are observed
and extended to others."
-Minor White

   To imagine that objects, whether man-made or natural, can possess an "underlying force of spirit" is an idea that underscores much of the contemplative photographer's approach to their work.  But what is lurking behind those words, beyond mere metaphor, is the Taoist concept of Qi...the energy inherent in all things. Landscape can have it, most certainly, but I am inclined to agree with Minor White, so do objects.  This sculpture of St. Benedict, on the grounds of Glastonbury Abbey may be seen as merely a work of bronze sitting placidly in the landscape or, as the artist perhaps intended, seen as powerful gesture of both reverence and  emphasis.  We all  respond to this energy whether we know it or not.  It is the goal of the contemplative photographer to translate that energy into a visual document of the experience.  We can then, as Minor White suggests, extend that experience to others through our photographs.

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