Reflections 2016:  January / February Posts

February 14, 2016  Ice

It was the diamond-like sparkle that first caught my eye, but two other facets of the frozen water captured my imagination.  Layer upon layer of thin translucent ice created a spectacular lattice of superimposed forms. And a narrow stream of falling water broke through the surface to reveal the space beneath.  Below are a few studies captured while photographing the new images just posted to the Ice Gallery

Thank you...

... for taking time to reflect on my work. I invite you to share your thoughts via my Contact Form. And please subscribe to the mailing list to receive email notices of updates and activities.

View more Ice Images here.

February 1, 2016   Exhibitions and Visual Literacy 

"Photographs side by side cannot help being mutually affected. Transpose them, the meaning changes."

                                                                                        - Minor White, 1976

Two recent events have got me thinking more about the importance of how photographs are presented to the viewer, whether in a virtual or physical gallery.  One event was an exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts in San Diego titled "The Time Between: The Sequences of Minor White".  The other is a current installation of small images at Carmel Visual Arts Studio by Fotosaga, a group of women photographers which I am associated with.

Minor White was one of the most influential American photographers of the 20th century.  A contemporary of Alfred Stieglitz, Edward Weston, Ansel Adams, and Imogen Cunningham, White was a founding member of the California School of Fine Arts in San Francisco, where he taught Photography in the late 1940s.  He was the first editor of "Aperture" magazine and in the 1960s helped to design the visual arts program at MIT, in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In addition to his unique artistic vision influenced by spiritual and intellectual pursuits, he had an intense interest in how people view and understand photographs. He promoted the idea of "visual literacy" and how images sequenced in a display create a new level of interpretation, encouraging the viewer to see them in a larger context.  As we move through an exhibit, we bring our thoughts of one photograph with us as we move on to the next, impacting our experience. The exhibit in San Diego presented a number of White's "Sequences" in a variety of media (prints, books, videos).

Fotosaga Installation, on exhibit at Carmel Visual Arts Studio through February 20.  Curated by Carol Henry, Director of Photography and Fotosaga founder.

"Life is an accumulation of moments."

                     - Masao Yamamoto

The work and exhibits of contemporary Japanese photographer, Masao Yamamoto, were the inspiration behind the Fotosaga installation.  While he shares Minor White's concept that each image be part of a larger reality, his approach to display is more free-form... like a dance or orchestrated theme.  Smaller images entice the viewer to step in closer to see the details of each "visual haiku" (short poem), as he refers to them...  And then to step back again to see how they work together at varying distances as a collection.   

Closer view of the installation, including some images from my Water Galleries, along with work by other Fotosaga members.

Thank you...

... for taking time to reflect on my work. I invite you to share your thoughts via my Contact Form. And please subscribe to the mailing list to receive email notices of updates and activities.

January 17, 2016   The Bridge, the Fence, and the Footpath

My artistic Vision Statement is based on recurring themes and viewpoints that inspire my work. The images in this Reflection are studies that directly relate to this excerpt from my statement:

"I am intrigued by the way manmade structures connect and divide space. They are bridges, barriers, and boundaries, containing and retaining, internal / external edges. I experiment with these concepts in my images through framing, focus, and depth of field, often creating a tension between foreground and background."

The Bridge

The beauty of Big Sur's Bixby Bridge is most often captured in an expansive view - stretching over a vast chasm, connecting two stunning coastal cliffs. On this visit, I chose to study a closer view of the structure and the interplay of foreground and background.

The Fence

Fences are boundaries that contain spaces for reasons both practical and aesthetic. In this study, the coastal fences protect sensitive habitats. Again the interplay of foreground and background contrasts manmade structure against the natural environment.  In addition, the impacts of the harsh coastal climate impart a sense of temporal beauty.

The Footpath

Evidence of a rare summer thunderstorm... on this decomposing footpath, dampness from the rain intensifies the grain of the wood, while windblown sand adds texture to nature's design.

Thank you...

... for taking time to reflect on my work. Again, I invite you to share your thoughts via my Contact Form. And please subscribe to the mailing list to receive email notices of updates and activities.

January 1, 2016   Self-Reflection

"We don't see things as they are, we see them as we are."

                                                              - Anais Nin

For me, self-reflection is at the heart of the creative process. Defined as "the capacity for humans to exercise introspection and willingness to learn about their fundamental nature, purpose, and essence," self-reflection is what drives an artist's vision.  It is the filter of perception through which we interpret sensory information in order to understand and represent the environment in our work. And the filter works both ways - from the outside in and from the inside out. 

I found 2015 to be a year of self-reflection as I set out on a new creative path with my photography -  in search of a more concrete identity as an artist. I reviewed thousands of digital images I had captured in the last 10 years, searching for patterns of subjects and viewpoints that had inspired me. I explored the work of new artists, revisited the masters, and participated in photography workshops. In the process, ideas started to flow and a sense of self began to materialize. I started a journal and wrote a Vision Statement. While it was an exciting year, self-reflection is a continual process. We constantly have new experiences that change our perception. In the spirit of self-reflection, I thought I would share with you several self-portraits from 2015.

Face to Face

This self-portrait raises questions about the concept of “Persona” – the social face we present to the world. Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung described the persona as “a kind of mask designed on the one hand to make a definite impression upon others, and on the other to conceal the true nature of the individual.”  Women have used make-up since before the time of Cleopatra to emphasize facial features that society deems the ideal of beauty. Is this a healthy outward sense of self – or an obsessive concern about what other people think?  Is it authentic or inauthentic?

At One with Trees

Does a portrait require facial features to tell its story?  I wanted to explore my connection to nature with this photo. Shadow images are nothing new or unique, but here I waited for the light to be just right for the tree branches and outline of my body to be solid and distinct, but for the leaf pattern to be discernible throughout...a way to portray myself and the trees as one and the same. This more accurately shares my experience than say, a selfie of me hugging a tree would - even if you could see my face.

Self Screenvision #8

The "filter of perception" idea is behind this image - sort of a screen of consciousness, in my view. When I close my eyes, I don't see black - I see a screen of tiny specks of multi-colored light. On opening my eyes, the screen is still there - as if the incoming light and corresponding images are projected onto it. The process of visual perception fascinates me; external light vibrations stimulate the retina, which transforms them to neural activity that is transmitted to the brain. There we use memory, emotion, and intuition to create a mental representation of the "outside" material world of space, time, and matter - our reality. I will share more from a series of screenvision images in a future "Reflections 2016" post.

Self Portrait with Sheers #4

A photographer is always observing.  I captured that aspect of myself in this image, looking out a window through sheer drapes.  I like to explore the idea of looking through things - the duality of internal and external and the space or plane that divides and connects them. There are multiple layers to focus on in the foreground and background.


Thanks for taking time to reflect on my work. Again, I invite you to share your thoughts via my Contact Form.  And please subscribe to the mailing list to receive email notices of updates and activities.

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