Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Finding your own kind of Enlightenment through Contemplative Photography

   There is a Taoist concept that states that what exists above (in heaven) also is present below (on earth).  There is no real separation between the two...each reflects the other.  This is also a Celtic world view.  It is that way of looking at the world that is the basis of my form of contemplative photography.  I search for divine "fingerprints" in the landscapes I photograph and I never fail to find them.

   I was reminded of these ideas as I stood, yet again, on my back porch looking at the crab apple tree for probably the 100th time this Winter.

   What I saw really wasn't anything dramatic, at first, until I put together the highlighted icicles and the illuminated snow under the tree.  The icicles were like pointing fingers and in the flattened space of the resulting digital image they seemed to be pointing to the sunlit snow.  While my eye didn't connect the two when I first stepped out on the porch because of their distance apart in reality, the unreality of the photograph pulled them together for me.

   Enlightenment or self-understanding can be found absolutely anywhere, even in this rather mundane scene.  It is, in fact, in these very ordinary encounters that I find the most profound understanding of all.  It tells me that the divine fingerprint I seek is everywhere and you need not journey far from home to experience it.

   For me, in the end, it is all about forging connections with the viewed elements of the landscape which are recorded in your photograph- through Photo Lectio - and some concept or idea.  Then the "enlightenment" occurs and it always makes me smile when it does! (I can't help but see that cartoon of the figure with the light bulb above their head!)  I wouldn't have, for instance, believed the common icicle could have so much to tell me in so many different ways but here it is again.  Winter is far from over here in Maine.  Maybe there are more stories these frozen finger prints have yet to reveal to me.


Mystic Meandering said...

Oh I just love "divine fingerprints" that bring ah-ha moments - love that name too :). I see them too sometimes, often, like you, not until after the fact in the photo... And sometimes just by turning a photo upside down! (esp if it's an abstract of light or shadow on a wall.) Even your furry friends Gaylord and Horatio are "fingerprints" too :) btw - I noticed a new little squirrel up in one of our trees today! I must give him/her a name :) besides "baby squirrel" :)

Patricia Turner said...

Oh yes, Gaylord and Horatio are very definitely "divine fingerprints"! And by all means, name your "fingerprint" immediately deepens your connection.