Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Backlit

“To love beauty is to see light.” – Victor Hugo

“The beginnings and ends of shadow lie between the light and darkness and may be infinitely diminished and infinitely increased. Shadow is the means by which bodies display their form. The forms of bodies could not be understood in detail but for shadow.” – Leonardo da Vinci

This week’s photo challenge comes from Ann-Christine, who writes, “Backlight is a versatile instrument in making pictures really come alive, even if they are only silhouettes or very dark. For landscapes it can be magical.” I find that especially true when water is part of the landscape, adding reflection, glow, and sparkle. I am really happy that the rain in Oregon has let up, and warm sunshine is bedazzling the Coast. I had a glorious day there yesterday, and will return soon!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Still Life

“But in a still life, there is no end to our looking, which has become allied with the gaze of the painter; we look in and in, to the world of things, in their ambiance of cool or warm light, in and in, as long as we can stand to look, as long as we take pleasure in looking.”
― Mark Doty

“Bartholomeus went on, ‘I wanted to show that these objects are sensitive, suffer at the coming of night, faint at the departure of the last rays, which, by the way, also live in this room; they suffer as much, they fight against the darkness. There you have it. It’s the life of things, if you like. The French would call it a nature morte, a picture of inanimate objects. That is not what I’m trying to show. Flemish puts it better: a still life.”
― Georges Rodenbach, The Bells of Bruges

Patti has served up a worthy challenge for us this week: still life photography. I think of this genre as belonging to the studio or a fine arts classroom. It is all about creating a composition that is compelling, whether that be because of the juxtaposition of objects, or the light playing on textures, or the depth of field that draws the eye deeper into the photo. When I think of the shots I have taken that might qualify for this category, I think of the ones I spent more time staging. There’s a certain amount of creative manipulation that goes into this kind of photography, and I must admit, I don’t often go to those lengths. But when I do, it’s a lot of fun…and some frustration. I often know the WOW! result I want, but somehow, fail to get it. Playing around with the idea of the shot is exciting, though. I am really enjoying seeing your posts on this theme!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Environments

“I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” – Henry David Thoreau

For this week’s challenge, Tina of Travels and Trifles asks about our preferences for our Environment and reminds us of the story of the City Mouse and the Country Mouse.

I happen to love tent camping. The first photo in the gallery was taken two years ago on a backpacking trip to the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness in Oregon; I was a month shy of 60 years old. The last photo was taken, I believe, in Acadia National Park in Maine; I was three years old. I didn’t take those photos. All the others were taken on various car camping trips in the last ten years. The smell of wood smoke and the crisp feel of fresh air make me feel more alive than any other environment. To me, a baked potato raked from the coals and covered in butter and salt and pepper can taste as heavenly as a gourmet meal at a 5-star restaurant. (It helps to be ravenously hungry!) The feeling of self-reliance and freedom that settles around me as I’m making camp in a spot I’ve chosen for its magnificent view is priceless. It makes me feel like I belong on this Earth, just as I am.

Others can have their cities of man-made majesty. I’m a happy camper in a cathedral of tall trees.

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Glowing Moments

“We too can repair our cracks with gold
And glow again.
Crazed by life,
More beautiful than ever before.”
― Scott Hastie

Glowing moments, those incandescent peaks of joy and warmth, are precious in the present and heart-breaking in the past. I suppose the trick is not to look back on lingering light so much that you miss the approaching sunrise.

Thank you, Siobahn of Bend Branches, our guest host this week, for a beautifully luminous challenge!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: It’s Tricky!

“Lord, what fools these mortals be.”
– William Shakespeare

Tonight, I’ll be performing in a production called “The Blaming of the Shrew”. It’s an adaptation of Shakespeare’s work. Our director says, “This adaptation, a conflation of the two distinct extant texts of this play, The Taming of the Shrew and The Taming of a Shrew, intends to explore the social and dramatic tension of the idea that this story is ostensibly a comedic one. We hope that this adaptation will spark conversations about patriarchal control (which is, at its core, what restricting abortion access is all about), as well as the prevalence of misogynistic humor in the stories that our society continues to tell.” Proceeds from the ticket donations will go to support women’s reproductive rights.

My character, Grumio, is a servant to Petrucchio, the man who “comes to wive it wealthily” by marrying Katharina and taming her independent nature. Grumio is a kind of comic narrator, but he is also a “Bro” who creeps on Katharina and contributes to breaking her with abuse. I get to deliver a lot of sexual double entendres around lutes and meat and mustard. I do have great fun clowning around in my foolish old man identity for laughs, but I am moved to tears when our lead actor implodes and becomes a shell of herself. It has been interesting hearing audience reaction and noting how poorly the text has stood up over time as a comedy. There are content warnings posted prominently in all our publicity.

Here are some production photos of my character…obviously I didn’t take them. They were taken by our director, Rachel Kohler.

It’s tricky to be an evolving and compassionate human being. Our species has been working on that for a long, long time with mixed results. For my part, I intend to keep on trying and supporting others in their journey to be a little less foolish each day. Thanks, Donna, for your April opening challenge!