Sunday, March 6, 2011

making art from looking around

blog #23
          Two university teacher/photographers, who actually know how to explain what they do, and I did a workshop yesterday for 26 folks, part of the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI).  It was a treat for me to be surrounded all day by so many others who also love photography.  Of course I have spent the waking hours since then thinking of all the things I COULD have said or SHOULD have said, despite the fact that since we didn't have enough time as it was, whatever I left out was a gift! 
     The photo that I thought of to explain my post-workshop ideas is from last March.  It shows an overnight change in what is usually a fairly standard field, one with ordinary cows,  grass growing or being eaten, and with birds flying over, from one side of it to the other....

       I have lived nearby for 36 years but that was the first time I had ever seen such a design in that place.  I've tried here to capture the amazing work my neighbor had accomplished.  I also thought about those circles.  I get it that our lives and these circles are like a hanging spiral sculpture.  As we try to figure out the truths of our own lives, we often come to the same place, but at a different level, adding the insights from before to newer insights.  So how many times do I have to go around and around until I finally, if ever, reach clearness on something?  Am not trying to answer that one here.  Just want to note that my art also follows this circular model.  I may use familiar visual material, but the light changes, seasons change, the context changes, and I change.  What I bring to my work as I grow helps my photos, even more than any new camera or printer might do.
      In hopes some of the workshop participants will read this blog entry, I'm choosing one thing from my list of what I wished to have said, and it is this: when I showed you my photos, when I spoke about what I see in my own photos, and when I did my PowerPoint about composition, I'm just talking about personal vision, elusive as that may be.  In a more collaborative situation, without each of us set up to sit in front of a computer, we could better share what works for each of us, you responding to my stuff, me responding to yours as part of the practice, practice, practice any art takes as we each travel our circles toward a clearer inner vision.
This second photo gives an overview of that field's location.
       Maybe you even like this view better, which is cool.  As for me -- now that I am cast as a pundit -- I am simply presenting what works for me.  Getting closer.  Making art by seeing manure or whatever else.  Trusting the process.


  1. This must be a spiral, right? Your neighbor was spreading manure, started in the center and worked outward a circuit at a time? What a crop circle. What a crop circle. It's wonderful.

  2. Great photos and philosophy.