Wednesday, January 7, 2015

This Moment Matters

Sometimes I am blessed by a convergence of events that permit me to see magic.

It started with a stunningly beautiful blog post by my new friend, Robin of Gotham Girl Chronicles. Her photos of the evening light along the Irrawaddy River in Myanmar affected me deeply. The seamless blending of layers and colors presented like a wash of watercolor, such that a photograph becomes a painting. The softness and lack of detail in her impressionist photography, combined with vivid colors, gave me room to think and breathe, as though drifting in the scene.

From Robin's blog, I studied the impressionist photography of New Zealand artist, Eva Pollock. I read of her voyage of discovery.

It was one of Auckland’s stormy winter days when, for the first time, I noticed how beautiful my local beach was. I’ve never actually liked this place. This polluted, empty inner city bay where nothing ever happens. But that day something had happened. Something unexpected and wonderful. Something that changed my perception of the world around me.

This way of seeing and photographing sat down alongside me and made itself at home.

I spent the day with my mother today. A typical day with her includes breakfast at a local coffee shop, grocery shopping, a little housekeeping, and always a long ride in the car. Mom never tires of riding along the river. The sky was unsettled and Canadian arctic air rolled in along the Potomac River. And much like Eva Pollock, along my local beach where nothing ever happens, this day something did happen. Something unexpected and wonderful. A glorious display of light against a glittering sea of waves.

I asked Mom if she'd mind if we pulled over for a little while so I could snap a few pictures. And for those moments, I was totally immersed in the present, mindful of the light dappled along the waves and the shore, the vivid colors of the sky, the cold wind swirling around me, the spray of the sea, the jagged rocks beneath my feet. As I climbed back into the toasty warm car, Mom smiled contentedly. I am certain that my joy was contagious, and for the rest of the ride we shared the magic of being deeply and fully alive, together.




And the final piece of the puzzle arrived in my Inbox this evening. A thoughtful and compelling blog post,The Time of our Lives, by David DuChemin, a guest over at Artifact Uprising.

But when my work does pull me into the moment, what a gift. Time slows down and that moment seems to last forever. I can move around within it and put my finger on the pulse of time. In those moments of flow I feel more deeply alive. And no, the photographs aren't always iconic, or even good in an aesthetic sense. But the making of them helps me see more clearly the thinner slivers of my life:  that makes even the worst of them good in some way. Perhaps for no one else, but for me. And if that can make me more alive, and more human – and I believe it can for all of us – it can make us better artists, and give us a place to stand, from which we can – through this art – call others to be more present in these moments so quickly passing. 



As we live our moments, so we live our lives.

17 comments:

  1. I hardly have words. Just love this and thanks so much for sharing!

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  2. Lovely...such inspiring words and a lovely shot of the water and sky.

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  3. My goodness, her movement images grand, thanks for the link. Just stunning, I also love artifact uprising posts, I came across one yesterday that really spoke to me, it is grand when you have a connection to what another person is saying it is like your souls are connected. Your two images with the silver water and sky really reflect your soul and that is beautiful

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    1. Yes, Barbara, it's amazing the connections we make with friends by way of blogging. It's almost an instant realization that this person "gets" you. To find friends who share passion and a way of seeing is a gift . . . and I'm grateful for you.

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  4. This puts me into a whole new photography mindset! I LOVE it...Donna you are so thoughtful with words, expressive ways, I am drawn in and want to be there too. Beautiful moments by the water, the light on the water feels as though it comes from the moon. I appreciate all the links and sharing Robin's work. Have a wonderful day!!!

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    1. Beverly, Thanks so much for taking the time to share your thoughts. I love learning alongside you. You are so supportive of every person - and your kindness and talent make us shine, too!

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  5. Oh, Donna...how sweet of you to share! I so fell in love with Eva's work when I came across her...and have even purchased a couple of her books. She is so inspirational! You couldn't have a chosen a better person/photographer than to showcase David. Such wonderful wisdom in all of his writings. How fortunate we all are to have each other to share, to learn from and just build friendships! Keep sharing the MAGIC! xo

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    1. I am delighted that I found you and your blog, Robin. Your photographs are relevant and thoughtful, your writing clear and compelling, but bottom line, it's your sincerity that reaches out to touch me and change me.

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  6. We've talked about David's article and now you've taken me further into this wonderland with Gotham Girl's river pictures and on to Eva in New Zealand. My eyes are being opened. Now I understand what you meant when you described to me the moments with your camera and the Potomac. How you moved into and walked around inside time. This is something I have yet to experience.

    The Potomac in winter looks metallic and flat, like nickels. Your photos changed the water into silver coins, washing up for all of us to spend.

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    1. Your describe with words what I see in my mind's eye. Seems we are all struggling to represent, in some way, the beauty we see in the world - and the beauty within ourselves. Having a friend like you helps me to see the best in myself.

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  7. A beautiful post Donna I could see you there wrapped in the moment and your Mother watching you with contentment, thanks for sharing...

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  8. Donna - I've come back to read this post twice...the first time it showed up in my inbox I was in too much of a rush and wanted to be able to relish it and give it more than 30sec of my time! This morning, up at 3am - I have the quiet and time to give it my full attention - along with the other sites you talk about...it is indeed a blessing when we can realize in a moment, the beauty and meaning that can be undetected on a daily basis, but, without warning, suddenly open up and reveal the simplicity that makes life worthwhile. Your photo captures this in spades...

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  9. Donna, I will be spending some time here. Your photos are beautiful. I also wanted to remind you of our mandala writing workshop. We'd love to have you join us.... http://waterstreetstudio.org/2015/01/03/and-now-for-something-different/ susan

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    1. Susan, Thanks so much for visiting. I would love to join you for advice, education and inspiration on writing. I so enjoyed visiting your studio . . . and the letter press equipment combines all of my favorites . . . made by hand, sculpture, art, words, typography.

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  10. Yes, yes, yes...a whole basketfull of yeses.
    Moment by moment we choose not just how
    but if
    to live.
    Thanks for the waves of remembering,
    Jennifer

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  11. Isn't it a wonder when God writes the poetry of our lives by bringing the pieces of other people's lives and thoughts together in just such a way as to speak to us so profoundly. I'm so thankful you were able to experience a bit of that poetry with your mom, and even more thankful that you shared it with us!

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