Photos & Poems

January 30, 2017

Perhaps, you've noticed that my PHOTOS page has been bolstered by the addition of a few new galleries, and here's why.  One of my Northern Lights photos, which I've posted below, was accepted into a small photography show in midtown, NYC. Consequently, I was asked to submit six more photos, which will be featured in the show as well. So, you can imagine what I was busy doing all weekend! I hope to add a few more photo galleries on the PHOTOS page by the end of the week, if not sooner!  Unfortunately, I can't post the most recent photo gallery first without having to reformat all the ones preceding it. So, you'll just have to give a quick scroll down to find the more recent additions. Anyways...

 

Taking photos has always been a meditative experience. Before I had even learned what meditation was or the multiple ways in which to meditate, I knew how to connect to the present moment through the lens of my camera. When traveling with my camera, I often fluctuate between patiently crouching and waiting for the right moment to scurrying through fields like a caffeinated squirrel in an attempt to capture a shot fifteen different ways before dusk snuffs the last few rays of light.

 

Photography, like writing poetry, is driven more by my gut than by my mind. I've avoided taking weekly photography courses or intensive daylong workshops because I don't want to become too saturated with technical information and technique. Instead, I've opted for small one hour workshops once or twice a year. In Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind, Shunryu Suzuki famously wrote, "In the beginner's mind there are many possibilities, in the expert's mind there are few." I have guarded my beginner mind out of respect for my creative process. A beginner's mind allows one to maintain a sense of expansion and open-ended awareness.  In such a space, I am in touch with my felt sense and it is this felt sense that tells me when to take the photo or not.   The minute my mind begins to aggressively tweak my camera's settings in an effort to achieve technical precision, I've begun to distance myself from what it is I am trying to photograph. My focus becomes shattered and what was once a moment to be simply savored has quickly transposed itself into a puzzle to be solved.  

 

When I looked up the etymological origins of the word photography I learned that photo comes from the Greek word photos, which meant light, and graphy comes form the Greek word graphos, which meant to draw or write. Consequently, the word photography means "to draw with light."  While taking photos allows me to capture the light around me, writing calls forth the light within me. This is my longwinded response to the questions: "Why do you write poetry?" and "What do you love about photography?" Mary Oliver says it best when she wrote, "Attention is the beginning of devotion." My photos and poems are just that...simple acts of devotion.

 

On Wednesday, I will post some thoughts about what went unsaid in Trump's Holocaust Remembrance statement as well as a a series of photos from a recent trip to Dachau, which was the first concentration camp established by the Nazis in 1933.   

 

 

 

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