Sunday, December 14, 2008

Discovering the "Himalayas" in a freezer-full of ICE

The autumn is over, work is piling up at my day job, the administrative side of joining the Lorton Arts Photography Workhouse is beginning to borrow from my "photo safari" time on weekends, it's cold and miserable outside, and my muse is either sleeping, disinterested, or just out taking pictures somewhere without me ;-) So, what is a photographer to do?

I do not know who first said it, or was the first to express a sentiment similar to this, but an often repeated photographer's adage is, "If you can't find a photograph in your home, what makes you think you'll find one in the Himalayas?" Thus, paying homage to this wise adage (and with the Himalayas very much on my mind, if only because I recently finished re-reading Jon Krakauer's extraordinary personal account of the 1996 tragedy on Everest called Into Thin Air), I turned my attention to the ice in our freezer. My muse (who made an unexpected, but most welcome, last-minute appearance!) and I soon started searching this make-shift aesthetic landscape for any "mini-Himalayas" that might catch our attention.

The result is a small, but growing, portfolio of abstract images that I call - with uncharacteristic brevity - ICE. Although it is very much a work in progress, I already feel the healing power of its primal forms, tones, and textures. Perhaps a few photos in the series even manage to show the ice both as "it is" and - echoes of Minor White - what else it is. Regardless, my muse and I are just happy to be back together again and exploring the beauty and mystery of the world with my camera; even if that "world" (for the moment) consists of nothing more than a few chunks of ice from our freezer. Of course, neither truth nor beauty cares anything about what others call the place that is their home.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

A Powerfully Moving Photo Essay

I normally wait until my muse gently nudges me from sleep or slothful inattention to post some thoughts on my blog. And when I do, I typically show some recent work of mine, or merely jot down a few stray philosophical thoughts about what occupies my mind at the time I post my entry. But sometimes, as now, when I stumble across something on the web that makes my jaw drop with admiration and awe, I just have to pass on the link to those of you who might otherwise have missed something I think is very special.

So...stop reading, and just click here to experience one of the most powerfully moving photo essays I have ever encountered. It is entitled Days with my Father, and is by photographer Philip Toledano.

It is an intensely personal, beautiful story about, and homage to, Mr. Toledano's aging father. But it touches - brilliantly and eloquently - the very core of family, family relationships, caring, and love; and of the Buddha-like impermanence of life and everything sacred. Indeed, in may make you cry (as it did me). It is, in short, an extraordinary work of art; and a testament to what words and pictures can do when the instruments of their creation are in the right hands and creative spirits. I have never met Mr. Toledano, nor have I ever met his father, but through this magisterial work I feel as though I've touched both their souls.