Wednesday, April 24, 2013

A Contemplative Stroll at the Pleasant Hill Shaker Village...

Marvelous, silent, vast spaces around the old buildings...Some marvelous subjects.  How the blank side of a frame house can be so completely beautiful I cannot imagine.  A completely 
miraculous achievement of forms

-Thomas Merton

      I began my walking meditation of the village with a reading from Merton.  It seemed to fit in so perfectly with my weekend workshop with Kim Manley Ort.  On Saturday she asked us to look at the "spaces between".  (More about this contemplative photography weekend in a later post.)  Merton understood this "spirit between".  It seemed to infuse my experience of the village.

    Sitting meditating on the beauty of the "spaces between", I waited until the clouds had arranged themselves just so before I made my photograph.  They truly were in charge...I just needed to be patient.  There really is no more wonderful feeling than to see the man-made fuse with the natural landscape as it does in this image.

The moments of eloquent silence and emptiness in Shakertown stayed with me more that anything else-like a vision.

-Thomas Merton

   It is something of the core spirit of the place, what Merton called the logos, that is what the contemplative photographer strives to reveal in their images.  It seemed so present here at Shakertown in its unique form of simplicity and light.

   Whether it is the space between buildings, fence rails or wisk brooms hanging on the wall, there is a simple rhythm and structure that reflects this "logos".

   Spending time sitting with the landscape, and in this case with the buildings and details contained within the landscape, you will find that you can tap into its unique logos.  

   I hope these last two posts will inspire you to find a beautiful build environment to study and photograph.  I plan to revisit the Shaker communities in New England this summer to continue my study of simplicity and light.

The old Shaker colony at Pleasant Hill is a place that always impresses me with awe and creates in me a sense of quiet joy.  I love those old buildings...They stand there in an inexpressible dignity, simplicity, and peace under the big trees.  -Thomas Merton


1 comment:

kimmanleyort said...

Patricia, you really inspired me to take more time in one place. I love that you waited for the clouds. Yesterday, I watched a video by Sam Abell, who talked about seeing the setting, and then compose .... and wait. Your images from Shaker Hill are wonderful. Something about the simplicity seems to make the essence reveal itself.