“Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.” ― Robert Browning
Last week’s Photo Challenge was all about Autumn color, the beautiful garb of aging, death and decay. How appropriate that Tina chooses for this week’s challenge the idea of how dilapidated, vintage, older things that have “seen better days” capture the photographer’s eye as things of loveliness and interest.
“The love of old things is a way of respecting time.”
― Wu Ming-Yi
“Of all the footprints, that of the elephant is supreme. Similarly, of all mindfulness meditation, that on death is supreme.”
― Gautama Buddha
The more I study the beauty of aging and death, the more I am drawn into the transformation of cells and matter. Consider that Life is marked by change, that change is the continuation of Life in new forms. Below is a photo of a petrified tree stump in the Flourissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Colorado, illustrating the change from vegetable into mineral.
Is it any wonder we photographers are fascinated by the visual evidence of the dance of Life and Time? As humans, we are definitely a part of this process. As humans, we take our experience and create Art to celebrate it.
“Use reflective surfaces to create an artistic echo of a scene…”
Mirror, mirror on the wall…why is it I blog at all?
I started this blog when I began my 50th year of life. That was in August of 2011. I had just moved to Wisconsin to live with Steve. I was widowed three and a half years. I had a lot to process and a lot to learn.
I am now facing another transition: leaving Wisconsin and Steve to live in Oregon, closer to three of my four adult children, my mother, and my three siblings. I have a lot to process and a lot to learn.
I learn by reflecting on what I’ve seen.
“Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.”
I am making this cross-country move because I have learned again what I always knew to be my Truth: that I belong most importantly in my Family – my family of origin and the family that my late husband and I loved into being.
“Art is not a reflection of reality, it is the reality of a reflection.”
― Jean-Luc Godard
Writing in this blog, storing photographs and memories, was a way to plant the seeds of realization. In my words and pictures, I remind myself who I truly am and see who I am becoming.
“There is one art of which man should be master, the art of reflection.”
― Samuel Taylor Coleridge
All my artistic echoes have origins in my mother and repercussions in my children. Being so distant from their heartbeats just doesn’t make sense. I need to hear the rhythm of our art, our lives, in order to keep dancing.
“What we do now echoes in eternity.”
― Marcus Aurelius
May the love we create in our family be reflected in the world. I believe we all have the responsibility and the capability to make this a more loving, peaceful, beautiful place.
Thank you, Miriam, for hosting this week’s Lens-Artists Photo Challenge.
I think Creativity inspires more creativity. Case in point: Ann-Christine has used her creative inventiveness to come up with a photo challenge, and now my creative energy imagines a new response.
And to illustrate my point further, I’d like to introduce you to ART in BLOOM – the Milwaukee Art Museum’s “stunning art-inspired floral installations” that are exhibited each spring. This exhibit is also a contest. The idea is to create a floral interpretation of one of the paintings in the museum’s galleries. This is the Grand Prize winner:
And here is my own gallery of my personal favorites:
And to take the idea one step further, here is creative inspiration to the fourth degree: a photograph of a photographer inspired by a floral design inspired by a painting.
Creativity is communal and connective this way. We inspire each other, we learn from each other, we appreciate beauty together – differently.
Thank you, my fellow Lens-Artists, for inspiring me each week and inviting me to play along. What a great opportunity to live out Einstein’s words: “Creativity is intelligence having fun!”
This article is featured in the December issue of The BeZine.
“Truth is ugly. We possess art lest we perish of the truth.” – Nietzsche
Civilization kills. We are living in apocalyptic times. The Anthropocene is here; humans are dominating and destroying the Earth. Like all civilizations in history, though, ours will fall back into the dust, and Earth will absorb it in some fashion. I get angry with humans because of this. Our arrogance and hubris and stupidity is truly abhorrent. I would wash my hands from all association with my species if I could, but for two things: music and food. I am willing to forgive everything for Puccini and Marcona almonds sauteed in butter and thyme.
Perhaps it is nothing but hedonism to feel that my pleasure in a fine meal at La Reve on Tuesday might bring me back from the brink of utter despair. The “Holiday Train” event in the village late that afternoon had created horrific traffic congestion with black-clad pedestrians pushing strollers into the dark streets while some pop Christmas frenzy blared over a loudspeaker. I felt truly Scroogeish; humans are complete humbug. But then the ambiance of a Parisian bistro — chattering guests and tremulous accordion melodies — and the buttery oak in the Chardonnay spread its warmth over that cold, post-Truth fear surrounding my heart. I asked Irene, our Asian-American server, about how the chef prepared the pumpkin soup. We talked about how roasting brings out the deeper flavors of vegetables and stock bones and what items on the menu were gluten-free. By the time I had savored my way through triple-cream brie, salmon, lamb and chocolate caramel, I was ready to admit atonement of the human race was possible.
The next day, however, my thoughts turned dark again. How could I justify the expense of that meal, even though almost half of the cost to me was covered by a gift certificate? How had the animals invested in that meal been treated? How far had the ingredients traveled on fossil fuels to get to my plate? My awareness of suffering may have been dulled for a time, but it was not erased. I may have been treated quite well, but was I healed?
Healing. In Western culture, it’s about fixing pathology. In Eastern culture, it’s about making whole. Awareness is about opening up to understand the whole, the complete Oneness of the Universe. “Life is suffering” is the first noble Truth in Buddhism. Suffering is in the Oneness. Arising from the awareness of suffering are two responses (at least): Fear and Compassion.
I experience my fear for the human race and my compassion for it as well, blended contrapuntally. To recognize that only as thoughts criss-crossing my brain might drive me mad. To see that reflected in a complex pairing of wine and cheese or in the first act duet of Mimi and Rudolfo in La Boheme saves me from perishing from the ugly truth. I will never comprehend the Truth, although I live it every day. Making, enjoying, or experiencing Art is as close as I may ever come to holding the Whole in my heart. I believe that those who practice Meditation seek to do the same, while sparing the harm caused in producing Art.
May we all find a way to happiness, a way not to perish from the Truth, a way to be at peace with the Whole.
Text and photographs © Priscilla Galasso, 2016. All rights reserved.
Life imitates Art; Art imitates Life. What’s the difference? Maybe Life and Art are one and the same or so intermingled that it’s impossible to separate them…like mayonnaise: egg, oil and vinegar bound together in one, smooth shmear.
Here are two pictures I took on the same day in New Mexico:
Statues in the city; real people in the wilderness. The fact that I put those photos side by side might say something about life…or art. They’re blended, see?
How about this one?
It’s a photograph of flowers on my dining room table. A still life. Is it still life? Those peonies were alive, right there in front of me. I took a picture, which I think looks a bit like a painting. That’s Art, but it looks a lot like Life. Our brains tend to blur symbol and substance. Try talking philosophy for a while: the words we use for concepts often supplant the concepts themselves. For example, the sign shows the words The Grand Canyon. Is the Grand Canyon the sign or the landscape behind it?
I love Art and Life; I love their blurred edges; I love their intermingled perspective. How fortunate to be able to play with both!
Life Imitates Art