Sunday, January 19, 2014

Exploring the Landscape through the Six Senses - Touch

The Figure in the Tree
Touch has a memory.  - John Keats 

 Photography is a visual art and the operative word here is visual.  A photograph essentially takes a three dimensional, tactile and sensual world and contains it within a two dimensional framework.  Everything is implied, suggested or abstracted.

   This series of posts will look at the way a contemplative photographer can begin their co-creative relationship with the natural world through engaging their senses in the process.  I begin with the sense of touch.

   The landscape is a tactile place.  It invites the hands to touch.  Just look at children as they engage with the natural world.  As adults we have come to embody the "look don't touch" mode of thinking.  Perhaps we think it isn't cool to be too "touchy/feely" but we would be very, very wrong.

I always try to touch my way through the landscape.

   This is a tree I photographed on St. John.  It was amazing.   It immediately reminded me of the Greek sculptures that employed a technique call "wet drapery".  (You can read a blog post on that subject here.)   I simply couldn't keep my hands off this surface.

   This experience of tactile engagement sparked off a chain reaction that was surprising and very illuminating.  I always try to touch my way through the landscape, it is an important part of my initial exploration of the location I am in.  I need to know what it feels like in my hand.  Tactile memory is another dimension of "knowing" a place and an essential one for me.

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