Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Street Art

I am almost stumped by Patti’s Lens-Artist Challenge this week. My photographs are largely of natural subjects, and I am not likely to be in an urban setting with a camera. However, I did have one photo come to mind…

So, definitely paint is involved…and a street…and something natural because…me.  And yes, I moved the painted leaf because it was stuck fast. Then I took a picture of it. Does that make me a street artist?

Okay. Cool!

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Harmony

“There is no true greatness in art or science without a sense of harmony.”

Albert Einstein

Greatness is a pretty tough challenge. Harmony is a tough challenge as well. Technically, emotionally, socially, it is not easy to make music. I have a B.A. in Music/Vocal Performance, and almost two years ago, I took up the violin. Professionals make it look almost easy. I had no idea how difficult it is until I tried to produce some kind of pleasing sound whilst scraping a horsehair bow over a metal wire. The idea is rather ludicrous…as were my first attempts. Why do would-be musicians even bother? 

This evening, my eldest daughter is performing Mahler’s 8th Symphony with the Madison Symphony Chorus…and a host of other musicians. After all, it’s the “Symphony of a Thousand”. Tomorrow, I am performing Mozart’s Solemn Vespers and Lauridsen’s Lux Aeterna in a basilica known as Holy Hill.

It’s impossible to imagine the number of hours that go into producing a concert, from composition to performance. Similarly, from learning to speak to writing poetry, what motivates humans to communicate? Why bother to go further than grunting out urgent pain or danger?

There is something sublime, something divine in experiencing the mystery of being alive in a moment. Music is LIFE in a moment. Photography is LIFE in a moment. It is breath-taking, poignant, exhilarating to be able to show someone that LIFE and feel that they resonate with that experience. That is harmony — experiencing the resonance of LIFE with another being. 

As a Lens-Artist, I hope to show you something that touches a chord. Thank you, Tina, for the invitation to be part of this challenge and share the art I’ve practiced. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Less is More

Amy’s challenge this week is a very meaningful one. Imagine how the Earth would benefit if the human species truly embraced the idea that “Less is the new More!”

We’ve all seen news articles showing evidence of huge flotillas of garbage in our oceans, of urban sprawl eating up wilderness, and of first world over-consumption. I remember being visually struck by a National Geographic article by photographer Peter Menzel showing the possessions of an average family from a variety of countries across the world. (Material World: A Global Family Portrait) The American family had enough possessions to fill the end of their cul de sac. 

One of the benefits of my preferred way of travel, camping, is that it gives me the opportunity to live very simply. The clothes I’m wearing, a tent, a box of matches, some bedding, and a few cooking utensils are completely sufficient. The food I eat is recycled: gathered in and returned to the land. The vast landscapes of the outdoors are anything but simple. The world is a complex array of ecosystems. But focusing on one feature reveals the astounding beauty of simple design.

Removing extraneous clutter from my photos and my way of life allows me to focus on the wonder of the essence of Life. That I am alive and that I am surrounded by life that exists on levels more intricate and vast than I can see or imagine is…simply…amazing.  

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Creativity

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!”  

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Now for something completely DIFFERENT

Tina at Travels & Trifles lives on the East Coast. For her, the desert in bloom is something very different from her usual vista. Her photo challenge for this week is Something Different

The photos I want to share this week represent a bit of an experiment in composition and lighting. These shots are a bit abstract, though not completely.

This kind of overhead view of towering redwoods was the stuff of colorful posters sold in record stores in California in the 1970s. I just wanted to see if I could make something similar. 

This skylight window in my son’s Oregon apartment caught my eye one morning. I wanted to see if I could approximate surrealistic art with my camera.

This is the pattern of light and sand and water on the floor of Lake Michigan in Green Bay, Wisconsin. This is Oregon: fog, forest, and sunlight. But it could be an approaching UFO. And this could be an alien…

…but it’s really a Jenny Haniver. “A Jenny Haniver is the carcass of a ray or a skate that has been modified by hand then dried, resulting in a mummified specimen intended to resemble a fanciful fictional creature, such as a demon or dragon.” — Wikipedia

And it lives at our house. Once my boyfriend left it in the microwave for my young adult children to find.

Yeah. We’re Something Different, all right. 

Lens-Artists Photo Challenge: Weathered or Worn

Ann-Christine shares a bit of the fascinating history of Swedish temperance and photos of an old distillery in her challenge post.

The passage of time lends a special beauty to objects of human craft. It puts us in our place – we are but a part of the march of evolution and the expansion and collapse of the Universe. What we create and what we are in this form will not last forever. And that’s a powerful reality.