Friday, May 10, 2013

Metaphors - The Staircase...

The Spiral Descent
    On this blog I've explored some universal metaphors on occasion and my stay at the Shaker village in Kentucky got me thinking of another...staircases.  Metaphor is essentially a way to shape our thoughts and for the kind of contemplative photography that I practice, this is an important component in the process.

    It is easy to see how staircases have become such a powerful metaphor.  The small, narrow space we climb, step by step, to reach higher and higher levels or to descend into the dark nether worlds.  I mentioned my thoughts on the staircase at Rouen Cathedral in France in a previous post and if you go to Pinterest and type in "Staircases", you will see board after board of people's fascination with this architectural form.

A Narrow Light Above
   Seeing metaphors in the world is a skill that gets better with practice.  I've always had a sort of metaphorical bent of mind but it is something everyone who wishes to pursue contemplative photography beyond the initial stage of perception must acknowledge.  Training your eye to see the purity of line and shape and color is all well and good but I always say..."Then what?"  Are our images merely exercises of composition and design or can they have a deeper, more profound meaning for us?  Metaphor is one way to enter into this deeper meaning.

   This image is one of several abstractions I made in the Shaker Village in Kentucky.  It is a view of another staircase, at the Center Family Dwelling, and it was a real challenge to photograph but I love the severe abstraction this view offers...this thin slice of light.  In a few weeks I will be visiting the Canterbury Shaker village in New Hampshire.  I will continue my Simplicity and Light project and, as always, keep my eyes open for the metaphors.


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