Saturday, October 5, 2013

The A,B,C's of Contemplative Photography - L

L is for Latent (and also for Label, and Labyrinth, and Lambent, and Layers, and Limen, and...)

"of a quality or state existing but
not yet developed or manifest;
hidden; concealed"

   I'm a great fan of detective mysteries, in literature or on tv.  They are always talking about "latent prints" at a crime scene.  Sprinkle a bit of the black powder around and, voila!, there is the culprits fingerprints.  There is no denying the evidence; each fingerprint is unique to the individual.  No two are exactly the same.

    The landscape, for the contemplative photographer, also has a latent fingerprint...its unique but hidden identity.  And like fingerprints, no two places are the same.  It is the job of the contemplative photographer to ferret out the concealed wisdom and we don't do it with a sprinkle of black powder.  We do it with stillness and deep listening...heightened perception and the long, slow and considered regard of what is in front of us.

   One of the things I must admit I miss from the old darkroom experience is watching the latent image appear on my submerged photographic paper.  It always seemed like magic to me.  Then again, so do computers and digital cameras!  It's ALL magic!

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