Saturday, November 8, 2014

Whose Landscape are You Photographing?

Rain on Water II
   I can't speak for everyone of course but before I began my Poetry of Place project at Little Clemons Pond, I was firmly embedded in the 19th century romantic vision of landscape.  I saw the beauty, the lyrical quality even the divine thumbprint but it was all things I was projecting onto the landscape.

   Now, I have glimpsed another landscape, a landscape that is creating itself, projecting itself onto me.  It is a subtle but very real difference to my mind and, to be perfectly honest, a much more Taoist approach as well.

   This photograph is a variation of the image I posted on November 4th.     With these images I realized that as I watch the water's surface the landscape, through the rain drops that hit it in  random patterns, was creating and re-creating the composition as I just stood there and observed it.  It was a bit of a revelation to me.  I could control what part of the water I photographed but the landscape was creating the composition...a composition that changed second to second as the rain fell and the light changed.

     This is not my landscape despite how much I feel connected to it.  It is a living breathing entity of its own.  Interpretation is my role in the process and offers me all sorts of creative avenues to explore but I no longer feel any artistic superiority.  Perhaps that is still a bit of a romantic notion but it reminds me of a lovely quote from a Taoist master...

You ask why I make my home in the mountain forest, and I smile, and am silent, and even my soul remains quiet: it lives in the other world which no one owns. The peach trees blossom, The water flows. ―Li Po (701 – 762)  

   So now, whose landscape are you photographing?

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