Reflection XVIII, Yellowstone National Park, Montana, 2008
The motivation for the creation of the first image in the series Reflection was to suggest a state of unusual calm by showing clear reflections in waters so calm not a single ripple or distortion could be found. As the body of work developed, a clear progression in the character of what was reflected revealed itself – from calming to clearing to illumination. Initially, I appreciated the first images for their calmness. Later, works began to contain a remarkable simplicity. In time, the photographs became so simple that the pure spaces they described began to reveal how charged with light they were. Finally, at first, only in the byproducts they produced in their environments the sources of light began to reveal themselves. Throughout this progression, a growing intensity builds as the gaze is focused more directly and deeply into the source of illumination. Reflection XVIII represents an important culmination in the development of this body of work. And an important realization. I was surprised that a thing so simple could have such strength and depth.
In my work, sky and water become metaphors for states of mind. Many religious traditions use bodies of water and weather as metaphors for states of mind. Throughout the ages, the world over, skies and water have been used in ritual practices to intuitively reveal what often goes unacknowledged by the conventional mind. If you watch water and sky closely, you’ll understand why. As water grows still, it becomes clearer so you can see more deeply into it and its surface becomes calmer so reflections reveal more fully what’s above it. When the sky clears, you can better see the light in it and as color fades, you can better see the lights behind it. In these states, it’s not clear where one thing begins and another ends. They become calmer, clearer, deeper, fuller, and more connected.
This progression in character happened inside me as well as in the work, perhaps from years of meditation, perhaps from doing the work. It’s rewarding to consider how our inner states are reflected in the things we are attracted to, that we surround ourselves with, and that we create.
How much can you do with how little?
When is less more?
When is more less?
At what point is it too much?
At what point is it too little?