Monday, January 27, 2014

Quatrain #20: Labyrinth Walking

Like mandalas, labyrinths are typically circular features and they are used to facilitate an experience of mediation, but there are some significant differences between the two. Mandalas are used mostly in Hinduism & Buddhism, Labyrinths are rooted in Christian theology. People interact with mandalas by being in a still state of mind and body, whereas people interact with labyrinths by walking into them while seeking clarity and contemplating serious questions about their life. A central metaphor of the labyrinth emphasizes the idea that we are spirits on a human path, and not so much humans on a spiritual path.

Although visually complicated, labyrinths are not mazes because they typically have one point of entry and one path that leads to the center. The way out of a labyrinth is the same path in, and the basic design of its geometry is divided into fours [hey… like a quatrain!]. The intention of this posting is to affirm the act of producing photographs on a daily basis for the sake of the longer term. I think that producing images of only the "great stuff" encountered can limit potential and the extended range of vision. Producing images of even the most mundane fragments of subject matter too, over an extended period of time, can provide an intriguingly deep trail of salt while walking the day-to-day journey in. Because when editing on the way out what's rewarding is mysteriously found visual patterns, interactivity and continuity. When intuition whispers, photograph that, don't stop to question why... just do it!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Quatrain #19: Mandala Ensemble

Mandalas are rooted in Hinduism and Buddhism. The word in the ancient [India] Sanskrit language translates to circle. They are graphic representations [symbols] of the universe that can be rendered with a wide range of media, and that serve as instruments for meditation.

I first learned of mandalas while studying the works of Carl Jung and Joseph Campbell, circa 1990. Many years later while pursuing my graduate degree, I revisited the semiotics of these visual forms and produced interpretations of them. Upon completion of that body of work, I thought that it was the last time that I'd spend such a measurable period of time investigating and visually distilling their potential meaning, but this is simply not the case.

The moment these four parts coalesced into a whole I began searching again, just to make sure that I understood what a mandala is. Here's a straight-up definition that raised my eyebrows when holding it up to the visual, and from which a connection can be realized. The alignment of linear visual elements gave me several minutes of pause and appreciation of how the subconscious finds ways of presenting itself.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Quatrain #18: Vicissitudes

The word vicissitudes was a stunning find unto itself using a trusty, old thesaurus, and it immediately struck me as being the perfect integration of language to this visual. I like to use "expensive words," as one of my kids' language arts teachers describes it. She conditions her students to practice writing and editing with compelling adjectives — instead of saying good, say marvelous — and I concur. I mean really, when's the last time you used the word vicissitude? Certainly, I haven't until now, and that's going to change.

I made a post a few weeks ago about change and the idea of it being such a normal aspect of our day-to-day, high-technology existence. That was a professional rant, but this one is from a more personal place. Let's face it. Change can be highly charged with the idea of unfamiliarity, and straight-up fear of the unknown depending on the situation. Having said that, it makes me reflect on how I've seen others deal with change, and then even, how I deal with it. Somehow, I have this na├»ve idea that most people simply accept change and move forward without hesitation or disruption to their life flow. They are liberated by change. Then there are others that I've known, who grew up through the [1st] Great Depression for instance, that would become practically immobilized by change, because change caused them such great stress, anxiety, and hardship. That, by the way, is called misoneism — a hatred or dislike of what is new or represents change.

Everything in moderation, I guess.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Quatrain #17: White Water

People ask on occasion if I'm still working on "that quatrain project," ...and well, yes I am… actually. Looking at the posting date of Quatrain #16 means that it's been two years, so looks like I'm on schedule. What I mean to emphasize is that the time frame is intentional and that relatively long spans of time are integral threads of the project's identity. It requires lots of time and hundreds of photographs to produce an adequate range of works to edit and select. This next set draws from just as many images that were produced for the first collection of sixteen.

[updated 27Jan14]
January has proven to be the coldest and snowiest in recorded history around here. Interesting to see the timeliness of this posting, because of its inherent subject matter mostly, and because this was the type of weather statement frequently encountered via weather services. Maybe this can offer your sense of temperature some connection to the visuals, maybe not...
... WIND CHILL WARNING REMAINS IN EFFECT UNTIL NOON EST WEDNESDAY...
HAZARDOUS WEATHER...
* TEMPERATURES WILL REMAIN IN THE SINGLE DIGITS TODAY... FALLING QUICKLY BELOW ZERO THIS EVENING.
* THE COLD TEMPERATURES COMBINED WITH A STEADY WIND OF 10 TO 15 MPH WILL CREATE WIND CHILL CONDITIONS OF 10 TO 20 BELOW ZERO THIS AFTERNOON.
* WIND CHILLS WILL DROP TO AS LOW AS 25 TO 35 DEGREES BELOW ZERO TONIGHT. THESE LOW WIND CHILL READINGS WILL CONTINUE INTO THE LATE MORNING ON TUESDAY.
* TEMPERATURES WILL STRUGGLE TO CLIMB INTO THE POSITIVE DIGITS TUESDAY AFTERNOON. DANGEROUSLY COLD CONDITIONS WILL PERSIST TUESDAY AFTERNOON AND TUESDAY NIGHT WITH WIND CHILL VALUES REMAINING 15 TO 30 DEGREES BELOW ZERO.