We Change Each Other’s Experiences

Inhalation I, Nantucket, Massachusetts, 1998

I find this image supremely challenging – because of other people’s reactions to it.
The first time I exhibited this image, over the space of a weekend, in front of this image, four women shared stories of personal loss – a friend, a son, a husband, a father. Over the years, this has happened more than sixteen times Years later, in front of this image, in the same location in the same room, I found myself discussing the death of my first wife with one of the first women to share her own story of personal loss. I could pass this off as coincidence, but that would be irrational. While it sheds a little light on this mystery, Jung’s concept of synchronicity furthers rather than solves it. I simply can’t explain this. This challenges me – and others. Though largely formed of conjecture, the discussions are interesting. Specific combinations of qualities, universal color codes, sacred geometry, archetypes, intuition, precognition … theories multiply. The mystery remains.
When I made this image I wasn’t aware of the themes of death and loss weighing on my mind or heart. I was totally absorbed in making the image. Now, it’s almost impossible for me not to think of it, though I can still see much more in this image.
What people share about works of art may change their own and other people’s relationships to them. What the artist shares about their relationships to the works of art they create often changes the relationships their viewers strike up with them. This process is often encouraged and sought out. It can work the other way too. What people share about an artist’s works of art may change the artist’s relationship with his or her own work. While this type of process is less typical, it raises an interesting set of questions to consider, “When, where, and in what ways is encouraging this exchange most beneficial?”
The process of communicating the experiences stimulated by works of art and the results of those interactions, which continue spreading in many ways, often producing both intended and unintended consequences, is part of the life of a work of art. Though not entirely in the control of the artist, it is not separate from the work of art. Works of art connect us in unique ways.
It’s interesting that the amount of energy imbued in a work of art is not limited to the amount of energy invested by the artist, more is added through others’ experiences of them. How strongly a work of art does this is one criteria, among many, for evaluating its quality and success.
How many ways can you encourage meaningful discussion about your images?
How many ways can you seek useful feedback about your images?
How many ways can you give yourself useful feedback about your images?
Find out more about this image here.
View more related images here.
Read more The Stories Behind The Images here.

New Image – Inhalation 29

I often find the same compositional strategies, patterns, subjects and themes resurface in our work. Sometimes the ideas from two different images merge into a new one. I pay close attention to these visual bridges as they help me understand the both the similarities and differences between individual images and series.
In Inhalation 29 two series (Inhalation and Suffusion) cross-pollinate.
For more on this read my ebook Combination.
The exposures for this image were made in Iceland.
Learn about my Iceland digital photography workshops here.

Correspondence – How Feeling Connected Makes Better Images

Enjoy the text from my book 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

New Book – Correspondence

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.”
40 images
Inspiring text