The Benefits Of Not Knowing

January 17, 2013 | 1 Comment |

Sounding I, Wiscassett, Maine, 2001 

What I don’t know makes this image more interesting.

Several years after making this image, I couldn’t remember whether I had captured the snow photographically or rendered it digitally or if the appearance of snow was created with a combination of both. It was one of the few times where I felt my experience of my images was closer to the experience others have of them. In this instance, I no longer suffered from the curse of knowledge. I was confronted with a mystery. Rather than quickly rushing to open the file and settle the question, as only I could, I chose to cultivate the question and see what useful insights I could find in doing so.

I looked very closely at the image and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at other people’s images of snow and saw more than I had seen before. I looked more closely at snow and saw more than I had seen before. Because of what I didn’t know, I knew more. Because I questioned what I learned (and the ways I learned), I learned more. Not knowing, can be wonderful! You may be pleasantly surprised by what you don’t know.

Many people look to photographs to confirm what they already know or think they know. I prefer to look to photographs to challenge, expand, and enrich what I know. In works of art, sometimes the things that remain unanswered and remain open become more valuable than the things that are answered and closed. The life of a good photograph extends far beyond itself and our initial experience(s) of it.

How do you know what you know?

How many ways can you challenge what you know in order to experience more?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

 

Resonance In Blue And Gold I A, Charlottesville, Virginia, 2000

The camera does not see as we see. While it can reproduce the appearance of human vision, it can do so much more. Only two percent of our field of vision is in focus at one moment time; it can focus one hundred percent of its field of vision. Our angle of vision is less than one hundred eighty degrees; its can be extended up to and even beyond three hundred and sixty degrees, in all directions. It can see microscopically and telescopically. It can see in brighter, darker or contrastier light – and even into other portions of the spectrum. It can see in a fraction of a second or over a span of hours, days, months, and even years. With the camera, we have made a marvelous extension of our sense of sight, one that continues to evolve.

I’m fascinated by photographs that reveal more than the eye human eye can perceive. Whenever photographs show me more than I saw, I feel as if a magic trick has been performed. This is one of those photographs. I saw the patterns the rain made in the water but I never saw them like this, until I made the photograph. They were too complex and fast moving to take in all at once. Because the photograph holds them still, I can spend more time considering them and my understanding of them grows over time.

While I celebrate the marvelous capabilities of the camera eye, I’m not unmindful of the challenging questions that our use of it raises. At what point do we modify our understanding of our own direct experiences to the documents we create? Which has greater authority? When does a photograph supplant memory? What do we consider to be more factual? What do we consider to be truer?

It’s often said that as you deepen your understanding of something the number of questions you have about it grows. Over time, I’ve come to love the questions even more than the answers. Sometimes revealing, usually stimulating, always useful, questions can have more than one answer and point the way to many new things.

How many ways can photography help you see and experience more?

How can the ways of seeing you learn through photography be extended to moments when you are not photographing?

Are there ways that photography limits your seeing?

Are there ways that what you have learned from photography limits your seeing?

Find out more about this image here.

View more related images here.

Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

Enjoy the text from my book Condensation.
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Condensation
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Light
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All photographs are about light. The great majority of photographs record light as a way of describing objects in space. A few photographs are more about spaces they represent than the objects within those spaces. Still fewer photographs are about light itself.

Time, space, light. All the things this work is about are ultimately missing from the final product – the print. Put it in a dark room and there will still be no light. Touch it and you’ll find it’s flat. Consider it for an extended time; you’ll change but it won’t. Curiously, these conspicuous absences within the print make what’s missing more intensely felt. How does absence make something more clearly experienced? Perhaps it’s that the gap between representation and reality gives us pause and begs us to more carefully reconsider the world around us and the experiences we have in it, at first as a way of verification but later as a way of celebration. Read more

Enjoy the text from my book Correspondence.
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Correspondence

The first thing I do when I walk outside is look up. The next thing I do is scan the horizon. Hopefully, there’s water nearby; no matter how active or still it is, I’m mesmerized by it. I’m always looking at the sky, the horizon, and water for information and inspiration. Sometimes I stare for hours. More often than not, just for seconds or minutes. I consider myself luckier the longer I look. I have no idea how much time I’ve spent gazing at these things, but I’m always rewarded – if not with an image, then with a new state of mind. That’s how these images were made, through the accumulation of a lot of looking. These images are meditations. They’re an invitation to look closely at looking. They’re an invitation to see more fully, more deeply, and in many ways. Read more

Enjoy the text from my book Reflection.
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Reflection
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Cloudwatching

What child hasn’t spent scattered minutes, accumulated into hours or even days, watching slowly unfolding clouds and the changing sky? Wondering what they were, are, and will be. Imagining bodies (either whole or in pieces, especially faces), animals (whether commonplace, exotic, or mythical), plants, landscapes, and even mechanical devices. Who doesn’t pause at the sight of the blazing colors of the morning and evening sky? How few pause long enough to see the stars begin to appear? How strange to think that the same sky is blue by day and black by night, studded with twinkling stars. Are we like this too? Why do so many adults cease to probe these mysteries as consistently and frequently and with as much curiosity as a child does? What do we lose when we lose the search? Read more

reflections_iceland_1

reflections_iceland_2

Here’s an interesting sampling of images from my upcoming exhibit – New Work 2010.

All of the source images for the ground in these composites are drawn from Iceland.

While the body of work (Reflection) isn’t site specific, it’s interesting to note that many of the images are drawn from similar locations. In the case of the ground exposures a majority of the sources came from Iceland, Utah, and California.

When successful work becomes more site specific like this I ask “What was it about that place that worked so well?” or “What was it about my experience of that place at that time that worked so well?”

Then I plan to return to that location and/or that state of mind.

Find out about my Iceland workshop here.
Preview the book here.
Learn more about my upcoming exhibit here.

reflections_iceland_3

reflections_iceland_4

Condensation reveals a mysterious series of images, hovering on the brink of abstraction, stripped of everything nonessential, leaving little more than pure essence. These photographs are not only about the light-filled spaces they represent, but also the inner state of illumination passing through them brings. With extraordinary simplicity and directness, they lead us down a path of perception encouraging us to turn inward and take a mystical journey through ever increasing stages of awareness; thinking, associating, self-reflecting, centering, meditating, praying, and contemplating.”

45 images

Inspiring text

Find more books here.

Correspondence collects a moving series of images in which atmospheric and terrestrial phenomenon are brought into poetic alignment with one another, creating a felt connection both within and without. An exchange of reception and projection unlocks our powers of intuition. A communion of sorts takes place and is reenacted with each viewing. The act of bringing the inside into alignment with the outside is a magical act. This call and echo establishes a vital correspondence. These images are an invitation to look more carefully, to see more clearly and more deeply and in many more ways.”
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40 images
Inspiring text

“Reflection presents selections drawn from a powerful series of works, remarkable for their tranquility, clarity, and depth. Images of bodies of water and the skies reflected in them become metaphors for changing states of mind. Together, they chart a progression of consciousness moving from calming, to clearing, and finally to illumination. Throughout this progression a growing intensity builds as the gaze is focused more directly and deeply into the source of illumination. The images become mirrors for continued reflection, invitations to look, and look again, and to look at looking.”

45 images
Inspiring text
Find more books here.

antarcticcurvilinariceberg2005

I’m selecting the winners for The Center for Fine Art Photography’s upcoming juried exhibit Elements of Water.

You could be included if you enter by November 17 .

Theme

Water is both physical and symbolic. Water can be a solid, liquid or gas. It covers 71% of the earth’s surface. Water fascinates us with the way it moves and transforms. It can be a destructive force and a life giving element. Without it we would not survive, but too much and our lives would be drastically altered. Elements of Water will showcase how diverse water can truly be.

Exhibition and Awards
With selection for this exhibition, artists and their work will be seen by an international audience of collectors, curators, art consultants and others who appreciate the fine art of photography.
• Juror’s Selection Award: $300
• Director’s Selection Award: $200
• Artists’ ShowCase Online Awards: Two artists will receive a year subscriptions to Artists’ ShowCase Online, a $120 value (preview at www.artists-showcase.org)
• Gallery Visitor’s Choice Award: $100
• All exhibitors are included in the Center’s online gallery

Entry Fee
• The entry fee for non-members is $35 USD for the first three images.
• The entry fee for members of The Center for Fine Art Photography is $20.00 USD for 3 images.
• Additional images may be submitted for $10 each. There is no limit to the number of images that may be submitted. Applicants signing up for membership at the time they submit their work for jurying may become a member and meet the entry fee for a total of $77.00 USD.

Important Dates
• Entries due: November 17, 2009
• Notice of acceptance: November 30, 2009
• Exhibition dates: February 19 – March 13, 2010
• Reception: March 5, 2010

Note: images accepted by The Center for Fine Art Photography for exhibition in the previous 12 months are NOT eligible. Images previously submitted but not accepted for exhibition may be resubmitted as often as you wish.

Find out more here.


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