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.