Sunday, July 28, 2013

Shifting Perceptions...

   I'm teaching for the month of July and I made this study of the clouds while I waited for the custodian to open the door of the school.  It reminded me of the time, years ago, that I took my class of first graders out behind the school to lay in the grass and look at the shifting clouds.  We were studying the painter Constable I think.

   Now, it made me think of the subtly shifting perceptions we have as contemplative photographers.  Our mood, and therefore, our visual perceptions, changes from day to day even moment to moment.  When you are in a particular "dark place" you will see, perhaps unconsciously, images that speak to that dark place.  This is actually a good thing.  Contemplative photography should speak to all of you; not just the sunny, happy you.

   It was a particularly good day for photographing clouds since the sun was greatly filtered so I poked my head out from time to time to see what was happening in the sky.  This really has the makings of a photographic series I think.  The sky can mirror our emotions with alarming accuracy and it would fill out journals with interesting observations.

   So much of contemplative photography comes from a sub-conscious level.  We are often completely unaware of it until we sit with our images and really look at them.

   To get back to  my little students looking at clouds...I remember asking them, "what made the clouds move?"  Of course they said the wind but then I asked them what made the wind move?  Then their unfetter imaginations kicked in and I got answers like "angels beating their wings" to "it's just magic!"  Ah, to be a six year old on a summer day!

The world is full of magic things, patiently waiting for our senses to grow sharper.  -W.B. Yeats

1 comment:

Connie said...

As a child I remember laying on the front lawn as your students did looking at clouds and "seeing" shapes. As an adult I got away from that. Lately after a class with Kim (who I found your website from and really like it), I am looking again. It may not be laying on the grass but looking nonetheless. Especially at sunrise with the lighting. I am really enjoying it again.