Tao of Photography: Sting, Goethe, and the Creative Process

August 15th, 2010

In describing the movement of metamorphosis in the foliage of a flowering plant, Friedemann Schwarzkopf (in his The Metamorphosis of the Given: Toward an Ecology of Consciousness), suggests that “…if one could imagine a person walking through the snow, and leaving the imprints of its feet, but with every step changing the shape of its feet, and if one would behold not the trace in the snow, perceptible to the sense-organs of the physiological eyes, but the living being that is undergoing change while it is walking, one would see with the inner eye the organ of the plant that is producing leaves.”

And what of the lesson for the photographer? If only we could see the world as Schwarzkopf – and Goethe – suggest we see a plant! The inner creative process that drives what we do (why and what we choose to look at, what moves us, what grabs our attention and demands to be expressed) is just as much a living force as what we train our lenses on in the world at large. I would argue that in order to become better – more impassioned, more sincere, more artfully truthful – artists, requires a more Goethian approach; it requires us to learn how to dwell in our subjects. Don’t focus on objects or things; focus instead on process.

via Tao of Photography: Sting, Goethe, and the Creative Process.

Happy Halloween!

October 31st, 2009

Musee Rodin

June 11th, 2009

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In some ways the Musee Rodin was my favorite — the former Hotel Biron where Rodin actually worked, the beautiful gardens full of Rodin’s sculptures, watching people interact with the sculptures — it was all beautiful and fascinating. There’s also an excellent little garden cafe here which was very pleasant. It’s very fortunate that Rodin’s plan to save this place as a museum for his work succeeded — I think he would have been pleased at the result, watching people interact with his sculptures in such a great setting.

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The gardens are really stunning, and very enjoyable to wander through and visit with the sculptures.

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Even the Gates of Hell become beautiful in the right setting…

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More Musee Rodin photos here.

Listen with your eyes

May 6th, 2009

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Huangguoshu Waterfall, Guizhou Province.–the 3rd largest waterfall in the world.

“It has to be felt deeper, below the surface, at the very point where all senses merge. Merge with them right there like a fleck of foam falling into a stream. Just by listening with your eyes you can fold back on yourself and merge into that primal stream of awareness like a river is swallowed by the immensity of the ocean. Only then will you know what point to live from. Only then will you be sure.”

- G. Bluestone
Journeys on Mind Mountain


via Whiskey River

Red and yellow and
Pink and Green
Purple and orange and blue

I can sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow for you

Listen with your eyes
Listen with your eyes
And sing everything you see

You can sing a rainbow
Sing a rainbow
Sing along with me…

(Although it always did rather bother me as a kid that the colors of the rainbow in the song were not in the right ROYGBIV order…)

I’m such a Rebel

April 29th, 2009

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Not sure what species exactly he is, but he was very excited to see me today!

We had a fun day at the San Diego Zoo with the new Rebel XSi — another 25th anniversary present!

Yeah, I’ve decided to keep the hubby. He buys me stuff and takes me places. Tomorrow — Glen Ivy Hot Springs!

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Valley Spirit

April 6th, 2009

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The Valley of Flowers, in northern India’s state of Uttarakhand

The valley spirit never dies;
It is the woman, primal mother.
Her gateway is the root of heaven and earth.
It is like a veil barely seen,
Use it; it will never fail.

– Tao Te Ching, 6

The Valley Spirit is deathless,
It is called the Dark Mare.
The door of the Dark Mare,
Is called the root of heaven and earth.
Continuous, it seems to exist,
Yet in use it is inexhaustible.

– translated by Ellen M. Chen

( I like this use of “Mare”, which could be a female horse or Ocean. It brings in the image of the dark ocean, open and receptive, which really fits into the idea of the Tao. Interesting. )

“Taoists use the metaphor of gu shen, “the valley spirit.” A valley supports life, feeds the
animals who live there and provides fertile earth for agriculture. It can do this only because
it is empty. It accepts the flow of the river because it is most low and most humble. It
receives the warmth of the sun because it is wide and not filled with anything to block the
light. It brings forth life because it supports all who come to it.”
- Deng Ming-Dao, Scholar Warrior, p. 182

“One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.”
– G. K. Chesterton

“A friend who is far away is sometimes much nearer than one who is at hand. Is not the mountain far more awe-inspiring and more clearly visible to one passing through the valley than to those who inhabit the mountain?” — Kahlil Gibran

“Yea, though I walk through the valley of death I will fear no evil, for I am the meanest son of a bitch in the valley.” — Joel Rosenberg

Camera advice

February 27th, 2009

So, I’m looking to get a new digital SLR camera (unless someone has one they want to give/sell me… would love to pick up a used Rebel or something if you’ve bought a more recent version…) I want something pretty light, easy to use, not a lot of features but fast, and not too terribly expensive….

Suggestions/advice/comments/ideas, anyone??