Saturday, February 16, 2013

Pattern as Metaphor...

"At the Foundation of everything
is Nature."

-Lao Tzu

The Spiral Begins - Ireland, 2009

  While I love to photograph people, objects and the man-made environment, at my core I am drawn most profoundly to the natural world.  As a contemplative photographer I would have to agree with Lao Tzu, in Nature you can find everything you are looking for.  I am never more at peace than when I'm sitting quietly in some remote landscape, far the "madding crowd".  In a world that seems to be getting more and more chaotic and unpredictable, I find great solace in the rhythms of Nature; the slow but inevitable turning of the year's wheel.  Although Nature can be unpredictable at times, you know that the sun will rise each morning and the worst winter storms will eventually melt away in Springtime.

Sand Leaf - South Uist, 2005
   I believe our minds are hard-wired to seek patterns even in the most chaotic situations. I make the search for pattern, Nature's innate design, a regular photographic objective.  My favorite natural design element is the spiral; from the vast galaxies above, to the tiny spiral in a snail's shell below, I love this idea of moving in and out along a circular path.  The branching pattern of trees and leaves again offers our minds interesting metaphoric possibilities.  The list of Nature's patterns is endless.

   A true Taoist would walk a more middle path between chaos and uniformity.  They would avoid pattern as much as they would confusion but a contemplative photographer can see the benefit of both and will try to record them in their images.

"Yin and Yang produce a circular evolution
 in which every end is a beginning."

                                       - Tai Gong Diao

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