In the Swim – Coos Canyon Mermaid – Maine

Whilst I was mainly trying to take cliff jumping pictures, and though I did not have a very long zoom, I was delighted to be able to capture the bubbles my friend’s breathing produced underwater along with the twinkling of the sun on the water. Sometimes you get lucky. I like the overall effect. I should note two things though: 1) that I reoriented this image longways to add some drama to the composition and to have a larger image appear on the blog, and, 2) just because it looked better to me, I went on to change the image to the mirror image of the original, something that I do not often and do not like to do, in some sort of loyalty to preserving the fidelity of the real. Of course, that loyalty does not stop me from processing the heck out of images 🙂

In High Summer – A Morning Walk in Forest Park – St. Louis, Missouri

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The Long Way Around – Penn’s Landing – Philadelphia

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Faith : Hope : Love – The Challenge of Imaging Wholeness – Maine Forest

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Several years ago a friend commissioned me to produce a series of pictures on the theme “Faith : Hope : Love,” and I have been struggling, off and on, to do so ever since. This trio of photos is not necessarily my final product, but rather are the results of an exercise I set myself while walking a trail in a Maine forest recently to see how well I could manage capturing those abstract concepts in that specific setting. I was inspired to try this when I took the “Hope” shot of the the little tree “looking up” at its grown siblings behind it.

I have thought a lot about this assignment, about why it has proven so difficult. Besides the difficulty of trying to image any abstract concepts in ways that are not too obvious or cheesy, I think that it is especially hard to picture concepts that incorporate aspects of wholeness or goodness. And this is a problem not just in the visual arts, but in all sorts of art. It can be hard to depict holiness or goodness in ways that are not either trite or sentimental or cheesy. The recent Lord of the Rings movie trilogy is only one case in point, because as much as that series did well in visualizing Middle Earth, in my opinion it was rather less successful in, say, imaging the holiness or ethereal nature of the Eleves (though, admittedly, the goodness and earthiness of the Shire was done rather splendidly).

The problem may, indeed, be in the fallen nature of things as they are themselves, in which we cannot readily conceive of interesting and engaging stories which do not involve conflict/transgression and reconciliation/redemption or what happens when the conflict/transgression is all there is.

Photographically, it is far easier for me to shoot a piece of urban decay to picture a concept such as dissipation or ruin. And to be honest, personally, it has been long been easier for me to picture brokenness over wholeness as a reflection of my own self, save for the area in the photographing of people which I do with intermittent joy, which you do not see a lot of on this blog, in any case. Perhaps that reality may be changing a little and perhaps I will ultimately need to incorporate people into my final product of the “Faith : Hope : Love” series.

However, and if and when it turns out, I will certainly keep you posted 🙂