Saturday, February 12, 2011

B&W Photography Workshop

I am delighted to announce an upcoming workshop I'll be conducting on black and white photography. It will be held on Saturday, Feb. 26th, 1:30pm to 3:30 pm at Belnavis Art Gallery & Custom Framing in Springfield, VA.

Geared to beginners and those with an intermediate-level understanding of photography, this will be a 2-1/2 hour class on the "art" of fine-art black and white photography. My hope is to convey the difference between taking "snapshots" and creating images of lasting value; how to "see" the world in black and white (and all the tones in between!); offer tips on how to "find" B&W images (and how to "look" as a photographer in general); how to use basic design principles to "focus" a viewer's attention; and how to take your photography to the next level (beyond "point and shoot").

As (what I hope is ;-) an added inducement to attend, I am offering the first 10 people who sign-up for the workshop - free of charge - signed copies of a portfolio / booklet I won in the British B&W Magazine's book contest a few years back, along with issue #76 of Lenswork magazine (that contains 16 exhibit-quality duotoned reprints of my Micro Worlds portfolio). Please email Michelle, the owner of Belnavis Arts, if you'd like to attend.

Hope to see you there!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Strange Loops

"To make an 'I' you need meanings, and to make meanings you need perception and categories... The closing of the strange loop of human selfhood is deeply dependent upon the level-changing leap that is perception, which means categorization, and therefore, the richer and more powerful an organism's categorization equipment is, the more realized and rich will be its self. Conversely, the poorer an organism's repertoire of categories, the more impoverished will be the self, until in the limit there simply is no self at all... In the end, we self-perceiving, self-inventing, locked-in mirages are little miracles of self-reference."
-Douglas Hofstadter
Consciousness Researcher
Author of Godel, Escher, Bach
(1945 - )

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Aleph

"All language is a set of symbols whose use among its speakers assumes a shared past. How, then, can I translate into words the limitless Aleph, which my floundering mind can scarcely encompass? Mystics, faced with the same problem, fall back on symbols...Really, what I want to do is impossible, for any listing of an endless series is doomed to be infinitesimal. In that single gigantic instant I saw millions of acts both delightful and awful; not one of them occupied the same point in space, without overlapping or transparency...I saw, close up, unending eyes watching themselves in me as in a mirror; I saw all the mirrors on earth and none of them reflected me...I saw the circulation of my own dark blood; I saw the coupling of love and the modification of death; I saw the Aleph from every point and angle, and in the Aleph I saw the earth and in the earth the Aleph and in the Aleph the earth; I saw my own face and my own bowels; I saw your face; and I felt dizzy and wept, for my eyes had seen that secret and conjectured object whose name is common to all men but which no man has looked upon -- the unimaginable universe."
- Jorge Luis Borges
Author / Essayist
(1899 - 1986)

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Sacred Space

“Sacred space is a space
that is transparent
to transcendence,
and everything within
such a space furnishes
a base for meditation,
even for the youngest child.

When you enter
through the door,
everything within such
a space is symbolic,
the whole world
is mythologized,
and spiritual life is possible.

This is a place where
you can go and feel safe
and bring forth what you are
and what you might be.

This is the place of
creative incubation.
At first you might find
that nothing happens there.
But if you have a
sacred place and use it,
you will eventually
find yourself
again and again.”

Joseph Campbell
Mythologist / Author

Monday, February 07, 2011

Time as an Illusory River

"When you touch one thing
with deep awareness,
you touch everything."
Thich Nhat Hanh
Buddhist Monk / Author
(1926 - )

"Time is the substance
from which I am made.
Time is a river
which carries me along,
but I am the river;
it is a tiger that
devours me,
but I am the tiger;
it is a fire
that consumes me,
but I am the fire. "
- Jorge Luis Borges
Author / Essayist
(1899 - 1986)

Saturday, February 05, 2011


Having, with my last post, reached 200 blog entries over the seven years that I've been posting - and apropos of nothing in particular - I was curious to see what form a word cloud of my blog would take. There is a site that allows users to link to the URL of any blog (or any other web page that has an Atom or RSS feed) and then automatically generates a wordle. The wordle may be loosely tuned by selecting the font, color, visual layout, and toggling on/off the use of common words.

The resulting wordle for my blog - as of Feb 2011 - appears at the top. It is amusing to learn that - despite (or, perhaps, because of) my predilection for philosophizing, blending art and science, and general musing about all kinds of Borgesian and Kafkian realities, the most common words / phrases that fall out (i.e., are rendered in the largest font size) are, in order:

the whole

As to what the cosmic significance of this particular list is, and what deeper truths it reveals - if anything - either about my past intellectual / aesthetic meanderings and/or the likelihood of specific future trajectories, I haven't a clue ;-)

Friday, February 04, 2011

Time, Space, and Mystery

“A human being is part of the
whole called by us a universe,
a part limited in time and space.

He experiences himself,
his thoughts and his feelings,
as something separate
from the rest,
a kind of optical delusion
of his consciousness.

This delusion is a kind
of prison for us;
it restricts us to our
personal decisions and our
affections to a few
persons nearest to us.

Our task must be to free
ourselves from this prison by
widening our circle of
compassion to embrace
all living creatures and the
whole of nature of its beauty.”
Albert Einstein
(1879 - 1955)

“We know that behind every image revealed there is another image more faithful to reality, and in the back of that image there is another, and yet another behind the last one, and so on, up to the true image of that absolute, mysterious reality that no one will ever see.”
Michelangelo Antonioni
Film Director
(1912 - 2007)

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Order and Simplicity

"The obvious is that
which is never seen
until someone
expresses it simply."
- Khalil Gibran
Poet / Mystic
(1883 - 1931)

"Order is not pressure
which is imposed
from without,
but an equilibrium
which is set up
from within."
- Jose Ortega y Gasset
(1883 - 1955)

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Harmony and Attunement

"Broadening our attunement beyond the horizons of the individual self awakens one to the meaning encoded into existence - a kind of cognitive "super-logic" that reveals a different purpose, a larger pattern, than anything we might previously have imagined. That is exactly what a spiritual awakening is - shifting from one perspective to another, until we finally glimpse meaningfulness where our mind could not perceive it before."
- Vilayat Khan
Sufi Teacher
(1916 - 2004)

"In studying ourselves,
we find the harmony
That is our total existence.
We do not make harmony.
We do not achieve it
or gain it.
It is there - all the time.
Here we are - in the midst
of this perfect way,
and our practice is
simply to realize it
and then
To actualize it
in our everyday life..."
- Hakuyū Taizan Maezumi
Japanese Zen Rōshi
(1931 - 1995)