Friday, January 2, 2015

2/365-3 Think Over

"Don't Think.  Just Be."

The left-brained academic in me often overpowers the creative free-spirit that also resides within but only occasionally is set free to come out for recess.  I am always thinking, planning, trying to learn, hoping to improve whatever I think needs improvement, which often feels like almost everything.  

For Christmas I was given the book Photography as Meditation by Torsten Hoffman.  I picked it up early today just to take a peek.  I was sitting near a window that seemed more like a percussion instrument thanks to the heavy rain beating against it.  I closed my eyes.  The rhythm, and even the melody, of the raindrops was mesmerizing.  So random yet measured, chaotic yet peaceful.  

When I opened my eyes, I looked down at the book that I realized that I had rolled into an arch in my hands.  The abstract landscape image of its cover served as a warp upon which the reflections of my window, my now...became the weft.  Like the raindrops, the lights and darks of the jumbles images were both random and peaceful.  I reached for my camera to capture that image.

When I looked at the photo on the computer, the picture that I captured was exactly what I saw with my eyes, but it did not stir the same sense of wonder an awe as it did when I held the book in my hands in front of the window only moments earlier.  I wanted that feeling back, at least for a moment.

I sat in front of the computer trying to name what it was that I felt in that previous "now" that which was gone in the image.  I decided that what was missing was the randomness, the unpredictability, the impermanence of every moment.  And truthfully, all of those things are antithetical to photography,  which seeks to preserve the fleeting moments of our lives.  With those thoughts bouncing around in my head (that I was trying to not use to think), I decided that I wanted to try to create a photo that some how might elude to the idea of impermanence. 

Today's image is that photo that I mentioned above, the one that left me emotionless.  I pulled it into Photoshop and began playing, trying things whose outcome I had no way of predicting.  You can see where I landed.  In reality this image will never change, but in its abstractness, and with the ever-changing state of my own perception, each time I look at it, there is the potential for something new to be revealed to me.  I like that.  And with that, I accomplished my goal for today's photo without too much thought.

I have yet to read a word of Hoffmann's book, but if the material in the book is as inspiring as is simply holding it in my hands and looking at the cover, working my way through its contents ought to make for quite a journey.