Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Dance

The clematis blossoms are more interesting now that they have faded, the centers are becoming more prominent as the petals hang tattered below the crown. I am using a piece of black construction paper as a backdrop to separate individual blossoms from the usual blur of leaves and twigs. I am also using a ridiculously high ISO ( sensitivity) to make these images. Generally a big no-no in photography where the aim is usually crisp and sharp, I have discovered that the grainy effects that come with high sensitivity are really very interesting in this context. Coming to photography from the graphic arts means that I have access to a whole different way of evaluating what I am creating here. Not only am I interested in the texture of the photograph as an element in design, but I see these photos as raw material with which to work. I am making something, not simply recording what I see.

Once into my photo shopping computer program I choose two images and stare at them for a while until I recognize in one the out-flung arms and swirling robes of a whirling dervish. The white and black, the textured surface, are so graphic and simple. I supply the title and the recognition takes place in the viewers mind.
The other swims into my mind as a bird`s beak, and if so then the trailing petals must be the costume of the dancer. I carefully add an eyeball into the dark slit above the beak and let it be. Once again I want to leave it for the viewer to make the leap from faded clematis to ceremonial dancer and his mask.

Some big thought is tugging at my mind as I work. Even as I create, something is urging me to make a leap as well. I am busy helping clematis blossoms express themselves as dancers, but I am being prodded into recognizing another larger thought as well. The expression, the gestures of the faded blossoms, would they mean anything if there was no humans, myself and other viewers, to recognize them, to give them meaning? Does everything hang on our `unique` human consciousness? Or is this cherished belief just another example of our human tendency to measure everything against our own yardstick? That deer wandering across my lawn right now, a monkey in a tropical forest, the dolphin surfing down a wave in mid Pacific, we measure them against our own way of understanding and being within the world.

The blossoms take these attitudes whether I see them or not. The deer, monkey and the dolphin think as they need, and in their own way. The microscopic life of the word too expresses itself and all of which it is a part. The rocky mantle rises and sinks, the atmosphere swirls like smoke, all dances. What we think as uniquely human is simply another expression of the whole.

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