FIVE YEARS OF PHOTOGRAPHY: A BEGINNING
Since its discovery in the early 1800's, there has been a constant attempt to define Photography. Is it a fine art, a language, a metaphor, or just a mechanical process? Regardless, my photography is an endeavor to confirm the beauty and order of creation. It is a time for recreation and re-creation.
Plato asserts in his Timaeus: “that the gentle fire that warms the human body flows out from the eyes in a smooth dense stream of light.” Thus a tangible bridge is established between the observer and the thing observed and over this bridge the impulses of light emanating from the object travel to the eye and then the brain. (Arnheim, Art and Visual Perception). Although not scientific, Plato's theory suggests a reason for how we perceive or visualize an object. Decisive moment, Equivalents, Time-Space are scientific explanations for why pictures are taken. My explanation, which is just evolving, injects a spiritual force. Intensified concentration is common to all creative people. Scientists, artists, and philosophers name this degree of concentration creativity, the devout call it meditation (Minor White, Octave of Prayer ). In photography we use light to create an image, Therefore, if we increase our photographic concentration, this creativity can be equated to meditation or contemplative prayer. The Book of Wisdom states the following: “your (God's) imperishable spirit is in all things” (Ch 12:1). Thus photographing nature and man's handiwork (since he is God's creation) offers a form of prayer which I hope to achieve.
Presently, I am in a discovery phase, in awe of all the subtle, changing contrasts, and yet concrete opportunities about me. What a joy to be able to wander through the woods, climb over the rocks, or round the bend and find a subject more unique than my previous picture which I then thought was my most unique! It is a joy there waiting for me to capture it.. “No matter how slow the film, the Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen” (Minor White, Mirrors, Messages, and Manifestations).
My photography involves the contrast between black and white, dark and light. In the Eastern World the whole basis for design is the principle of dark light or Notan according to Bothwell. The negative space or dark has a purpose as well as the light. Western thought teaches that light is good and dark is evil. However, in Notan it is the interaction of the two that makes the design of the picture complete (Bothwell/Fry Notan). I also use the predominance of dark to accentuate the qualities of light and to show the obscurity of darkness. I try to abstract from my subject the intangible, evanescent qualities. Unless a person searches consciously for these unique interaction they will soon vanish. A gentle but powerful stream reflects ever changing patterns as it slowly chisels out rock hollows. The brilliance of the morning sun glances off a frozen puddle, or the warmth of the setting sun's last ray catches an insignificant plant making its glow ethereal. “How beautiful are all his works even to the spark and fleeting vision” (Sirach 42:23).
My best pictures taking times occur when I am wandering in nature, exploring an abandoned site, or even at home looking at an object and watching its interaction with light and dark. The picture is there, it is my purpose to find it. Communing with nature is my release from the stresses of life, and a chance to contemplate and experience god's creation, a re-creation of my faith. “Since through the grandeur and beauty of the creatures, we may by analogy contemplate their Author” (Wisdom 13:5) Ed Klostermann, February 3, 1980