(The intention in art* is to explore)
In the first year of the art school, I had attended a few years back now, all students were asked to look into their intrinsic motivation. It was an exercise I was rather happy to do, thrilled to share the things I've encounter and considered significant, but I quickly found it troublesome to pinpoint directly the make up of my photographic leaning. And so I skipped and tripped to the 3rd year, and eventually, I fell. I touched the ground and I touched my ego. Little did I know but in that fall I had started discovering something about myself. It took a long summer of gathering bruises and bites, cycling and walking aimlessly - on little food, yet full of energy generated by anger, frustration, blame and many other unpleasant feelings - to unknowingly generate material for few projects to come.
Darkness is a background
for the light to be made visible.
My first little breakthrough came in dressed as resistance when in the last year of my studies we were presented with the project about the nude. By some heavenly grace I knew that photographing a person for this project wouldn't excite or inspire me. I thought I had seen it all before. And so I dug through my archives and with some helpful conversations I was inspired to look at the river beds I photographed that summer. (It's rather funny to notice how the contrast makes us focus so clearly - eureka!). The ground I fell on earlier transformed into an inspiration for the Out Beyond project. The little pleasures and successes brought by my work in the darkroom and the (somewhat chaotic) research encouraged me to the writing of a critical journal in my final year. That exercise helped me to notice and verbalise certain connections in my work thus far and started my awareness of just how much my emotional state dictates and inspires my creations. From then on it's been more and more vivid how photography goes hand in hand with my personal development and my very own studies of the nature of the world. Over the years my creative practice has become my way of revealing to myself how my mind works, how I perceive and how I feel.
For some people images contain a story or are like stills from a motion picture; for others, like my granny, who takes great pleasure in going through family albums, an image serves as a document keeping the memory alive; for artists and explorers, each and every one of their creations is an artefact from a moment of discovery. This very perspective is what resonates within me when I read some of Minor White's words. In one of his quotes he compared image making to a feeling of being born anew. The way this link relates to me is that when I look at some of my images, a new thought is inspired
It would seem that every time I have a new thought on something that I might have given the air time for a long time in the same fashion, I open up to not only the world around me but most importantly to myself. And so for me, the photographic process is a point of reflection on my personal truths and illusions. The intensity of the images I am inspired to focus on often feel like reading from a bible, where the pages keep writing themselves continually, never discarding of those already created.
Taking photographs, along side of writing that I've been practicing over the last couple of years has been the catalyst what is and how the internal make up of a human being affects its own life.
"Self discovery through a camera?
I am scared to look for fear
Of discovering how shallow my Self is!
I will persist however...
Because the camera has its eye on the exterior world.
Camera will lead my constant introspection back into the world...
Every moment of understanding a birthday. "
- Minor White
Another new perspective is that of the self - identification. I'm beginning to recognise that in each and every moment I have - and make - a choice. Those moments, over the years of my life, accumulate into my character, my preferences and all that directs my experiences. The things and events, people and places, textures and tastes of my likes and dislikes directly link to my momentary responses. But rather than to identify with them, I'm starting to recognise that I can simply perceive them as endless expressions of the same source from which I came. They are not me, yet they are an expression of that which I am. It's an odd concept to grasp and I understand it better when I (come back to) think of water. Whatever container we pour the water into, it will take its shape - both visually and on a molecular level. Sometimes water flows with intense and sometimes subdued speed. Sometimes it appears to be still, either liquid or crystallised. We can colour it, make it dirty, oily, or sparkling clean. Yet none of those conditions are the water itself, they are simply examples of how the water can be expressed, altered and perceived.
A change is just
a shift of perspective.
In my mind, the photographs I take are snapshots of moments that struck a cord within me; sightings that made me feel or become aware of something other than myself.
In the recent months there has been an ongoing and intense discussion in my mind as to why, what and how I photograph. One of the guesses is that, as someone who learned to feel abandoned early on, I tend to want to make something that I can't see - visible. To make seen something that is on the outside of myself, in order to have a bouncing off place that in turn allows me to make it known to myself that I, in fact, exist. It's as if I want to experience an echo. This process of self validation, on one hand, helps me to discover my own identity, while on the other, as is with any stick with two ends, has a pitfall of identification with all that is not me.
In one of my earlier writings I focused on acceptance. What I took from it is that circumstances do, in fact, affect our experiences and who we become as a result. Here I want to shed some light on where the circumstances actually come from. While in the spiritual world that I am aware of, we are all creators of our own lives, there were the times when this acknowledgement was a block and a hinderance. Rather than feeling wings spreading on my back and a fresh breeze carrying me forwards, I felt pressure and responsibility, blame and shame. This is also the point at which I started pondering about the concept of identification. A seemingly big shift of focus, yet powerful enough for me to start shedding off the burden of responsibility. It's not to say that I reject the thought of myself as a creator but my as my current personality had a light bulb moment when I thought 'to identify' that I suddenly realised that I have a choice. I can either consider the experience (regardless of its duration in time) as wanted or unwanted. Knowing that all happens through me and for me, not to me, allows me to see the glass 'half full'. This focus is the intention and through it I am able to chose what I acknowledge as truly me and what I consider as just part of the process of feeling for and going towards that which is me.
Everything exists simultaneously, meaning that everything is connected and occurs together at the same time. Like a ripple forming at the same time that hand touches the body of water.
My assumption is that all that surrounds me including all sentient beings and what can be simply called matter, exercise some form of sensory perception and so have their own sets of perspectives and their understandings. Whether it's a rock, paper or scissors, fog or frog, remains of an animal, dust or light, I understand everything to be first and foremost energy. I chose to think and imagine that there would be no change to a thing or a being if they couldn't 'perceive' as all change is and so requires a shift in perspective. How could a nail go rusty if it didn't shift its perspective? How could a caterpillar become a butterfly, if it didn't change its own awareness of itself?
* For me art and life are interchangeable terms. Like God and source, or Love. The hierarchy of existence, as opposed to void, as I see it - is: consciousness - awareness - emotion/energy - manifestation/matter - life. The meaning and order of which may change as I myself evolve.
and as I learn more about how the human being creates its own world I see the eye of the camera as an ego. filters the light through a system of beliefs and definitions - a set up of settings that alter the scene and that are alterable at the same time. When the light goes through a scene, multidimensional shapes and forms block it in places to reveal the luminance of the character of its tone. Much like a present event observed is filtered through the wisdom box of the past. In photography it is easy for me to see that everything is connected, revealed moment by moment and coloured by emotions.
Everything is just a carrot on a stick.
Whether a recent experience of connection between virtually everything that surrounds me was inspired by what I've heard or read about, maybe something I've watched, I'm still bewildered by the concepts of attraction and co-creation. When I photograph the energies accumulated and brought together by the scene and its environment, the camera I use and my own state of mind, all envelop in the two - dimensional axis of time and space to create a snapshot of that very moment.
We are all faced with a series of great opportunities brilliantly disguised as impossible situations.
- Charles R. Swindoll
Jane Roberts Seth book about the moment that is prolonged - analogue photography may well serve prolonging the moment. It's like a gift that keeps giving. While the process is made extensive in time, it has got an opportunity to satisfy for a long period of time.
When I go through my archives I see a reflection of my own inner state and I'm beginning to be more conscious of the way that I want to see the world around me. The growing intention is to let my feelings be my eye and my guide. I'm starting to notice how the physical binoculars in the form of my own eyes are a tool, as opposed to a fixed apparatus. This means that I can use them as I please, not as they are. To let myself see the world through the eyes of my emotions means to look at the world through - not as - a reflection of me. I then become the background and the plain against which I put the negative image of my environment to see it in its positive form. There is the need for fine tuning of the physical eye and conscious seeing in order for this flip to take place. Rather than looking outside for clues on my own projections I learn to intently focus inwards and project outwards from the place of all knowing, all appreciating and all curious being.
For every desire and every fear one can think of
there is a reality in which that already exists.
Seemingly in contrast to this individualistic perspective I also became aware of the concept of parallel realities. This, at first, seemed utterly strange and counter intuitive because each and every one of us perceives only one - our very own reality. We assume that it includes the whole of the universe: the stars and the planets, our world, all of the people, all of the plants and animals - everything that we know of and all that we accept we may not be yet aware of. By way of news we get to know about events occurring outwith our direct path of life. By learning specific subjects we discover their depths and relationship to the world and ourselves. Our senses, like sight, provide us with information on spaces we occupy or visit and we confirm with others that they in fact exist; the sense of touch confirms that not only are we present and real, but often, that there is another, object or person also present. Global conditions, like weather patterns or anomalies, pandemics or wars, spread as more people become consciously aware of and focused on them, causing their occurrence in our very own reality.
The initial understanding of parallel realities opened my mind to fresh perspectives. One of them is that I CAN see myself now more as a part, like a limb or an extension, of something that is one, whole and complete, while at the same time infinite - forever expanding. (Dr David Hawkins refers to it as the Presence.) This is how I see the Universe, with the whole of the Earth and all the other planets, galaxies and beings. This sensation of oneness, of being part of a bigger picture, so to say, seems to allow me to consider not only myself, but everything that surrounds me as an extension of that presence, from which I recognise that everything originates. I practice seeing others as now being a version of me and I allow myself to see myself as a version of others. This, in turn, means to me, that everything is an expression of the same entity, concept or (as Abraham Hicks calls it) source. This understanding, as gentle as it often is, allows me to replace unpleasant feelings with appreciation, excitement and compassion.
The key to this transformation, as I understand it, is the acceptance of these sensations and the ability to feel them. However, it's not something we must learn, but rather, it is an exercise of stripping away of all the systems and mechanisms we developed along the trail of our lives that cause us to suppress or repress, express or escape from our very own feelings. Many teachers suggest that emotions in physical terms are simply energy fields that want to pass through our bodies and be released - much like a breeze or a breath. We breathe in and fill ourselves with air, only then to release it. The ebb and flow of our emotions is an undeniable part of human and universal nature of the universe and these energies are what speaks to the Presence or the Source that guides our experiences. (See the link HERE to one of my previous projects on emotions expressed in images of water.)