Sunday, October 04, 2009

Homage to Friedrich

As I've alluded to several times over my last few posts (since returning from a trip to Scotland my wife and I took in August), Scotland is a place that inspires meditation; of both outer and inner realities. Particularly if one is traveling, as we did, to Orkney and Skye - where it is not unusual to spend a few hours driving from vista to vista with hardly another car passing, and only the grazing sheep and cows for roadside companions - one has a chance to reflect on this magnificent land of light, wind, and magic, and one's own ephemeral existence in the universe that surrounds it, in an immersively hypnotic silence. (I've posted a gallery of shots from Scotland here.)

In-between shots, or while adjusting my tripod, or searching my camera bag for a filter, I periodically found my wife gazing out toward the infinite horizon, motionless, lost in a figurative and literal sea of tranquility, her soul communing with place and timelessness; offering herself, as it were, to eternity, or just being. On occasion, when not transfixed myself by what caused my wife's reverie, I managed to train my lens in her direction. I call the series of shots that resulted, a few of which are displayed here, my "Homage to Friedrich" (after Caspar David Friedrich, the 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter known, among other things, for silhouetting contemplative dark figures against mysterious landscapes).

The image at the top of this blog entry was taken near Teangue, Skye, on the next to last day of our stay in Scotland (before we headed off to Edinburgh to catch our flight back to the states). The sun was setting, but we had a bit of time for some last minute exploration. I was busy taking close-up shots of rocks and water, with my back toward the water where my wife was standing (in my crouched position, glaring starry-eyed at the compositional marvels on the exposed beach, I was - ironically - "oblivious" to what I was really searching for ;-) I finally stood up to give my knees a rest, and while stretching my back swung around to look for my wife. What I saw I was magic and thus not something that can easily be translated either into words or images, but I did manage to catch a fleeting glimpse of the ineffable with my camera. What it recorded is reproduced in the photograph above, and is among my top three favorite images from our entire trip.

Four other shots from the "Homage to Friedrich" series: (1) Gazing westward from atop a walking path near South Duntulm, Skye:

(2) Looking northward from a beach near Nairn:

(3) Looking west from Castle Stuart in Scotland's Highlands:

(4) Contemplating Orkney's mysteries towards the west from a mound directly adjacent to the Ring o'Brodgar:


Angela said...

Absolutely beautiful, thanks once again for sharing your talent. So jealous - would LOVE to visit Scotland, but your pictures are a close second. ;)

Jesus Olmo said...

Really beautiful pictures, Andy (specially 'Scotland76'). I'm sure Friedrich would love them!

by the way, this is a "friedrich-esque" piece of videoart I once made... with a bin bag:

kind regards,
jesus olmo