With Whom Am, I Communicating?
So many times I have heard myself say; "No, I am not a landscape or nature photographer." Instead, I seem to use words like fine art, abstract, close-up, still life, or even metaphor. I follow these responses by stating that my style is contemplative. Then why is it that I am still making photographs of trees and water bodies with a landscape format?
The closest I can come to an answer is that I find significant metaphors, as do so many other artists, connecting nature with the human condition. For me, one of the best subject for this type of photography is a river. Rivers have been and continue to be strong thematic in song and prose. They have been visualized in stories carved, scratched, or painted upon the walls prehistoric caves, illustrated in ancient manuscripts, and now digitized for the Internet.
Rivers align with the flow and journey of life:
The Narrows - options are limited and the pace quickens.
Whirlpools - the feeling of being drawn into something, but not as a clear choice.
Eddies - momentarily being caught in a what feels like a never-ending cycle.
Passage - the natural pathway. (riverbed)
Rapids - again, fast moving with broken surface...exhilaration mixed with fear
Falls - deep dissent into a new stream.
Cataract - over a precipice.
Back-flow - return to source.
Current - going with or going against.
Even the images of trees appear to speak to something inside us. Don't we feel connected in some way to how they are standing and situated with their environmental surroundings? I have heard some suggestion that a person’s character can be recognized by what kind of tree they like best! What is yours?
I do believe, like many others, the art we create tends to reveal much about ourselves; almost like looking in a mirror. Are my photographs of rivers or trees linking to an internal communication telling me of a self-understanding and flow of life? Do I then present these photographs to others as a way of telling them about who I am?
Is photography simply a means of talking to ourselves and allowing others to listen in?