Saturday, March 22, 2014

Photography as a Mirror of Belief...

The Divine Spark
   I am a firm believer in the idea that we will see what we need to see because we are drawn to places and images that answer some deep seated desire or need within us.

   I also believe that as we clarify our belief system, the pull to certain places or experiences heightens.  Our photographs will then become a mirror for those beliefs.

   If you believe in the natural depravity and desperation of humankind then that is what you will see and, conversely, what you will be drawn to photograph. There seems to be no lack of this kind of photography today.  Many contemporary photographers seem fixated on the negative, the darker side of the human experience.  There is certainly a place for this kind of mirror.  Gazing into it may be painful but it is, at times, necessary and I thank the photographers who have the courage to hold this sort of mirror up for me to gaze into.

    If you believe, on the other hand, in the divine presence inherent in the natural world, then that is what you will encounter.  It is, in some ways, a self-fulling prophesy.  There is a need for both kinds of mirrors...the dark and the the world.

    Today's image is a direct reflection of the second form of personal need to see the divine spark in the most unlikely places.  I am definitely a "glass half full" sort of person.  I was visiting a friend and she commented on the need to throw out the wilted and faded flowers on the table.  They were, indeed, a sorry sight but for some reason I felt compelled to photograph them.

   This image is the result...the perfect illustration for this post I think.  I found this image just when I needed it.  If I had focused on the decaying part of the flowers only I would never have discovered the lovely interior metaphor which is emphasized by a little selective desaturation.  I also deliberately darkened the tonality on the right side of the photograph. Having this part of the image in black and white seemed to demand the exaggeration of tones. Together with the light side it amplifies the metaphor of the two belief systems. 

   This is also an example of how we can work with the images we receive to heighten their contemplative possibilities.  I don't do this a lot but it definitely speaks to the artist in me  .There is not a right way or a wrong way to gather and work with your one way to practice contemplative photography.  The only "right way" is your way!

   Adding a bit of "noise" to the image, allowing it too be softly grainy, further adds to the images intention to exist beyond the reality of the observed thing. It lends a painterly feeling to it that I really liked. I have never experimented with this type of imaging much but this has been a winter of exploration in so many ways...this is just the latest manifestation of that exploration. It feels good to step out of your comfort zone from time to time!

   I would like you to think about this when next you venture out to photograph. What sort of mirror are you holding up for the world to gaze into? What does that mirror reflect back to you?


Maryse said...

Photography is encouraging me to see beauty. It's like stepping into the book of Life. I'm not a spectator anymore, I'm in it, seeing and breathing all it has to offer. ♥

Patricia Turner said...

Photography has the ability to engage us on a very profound and intimate level. We can never see the world in the same way...our perceptions are invariably altered.

Maryse said...

Yes, this is what I'm discovering at the moment. ♥