I have given myself a visual challenge known as a koan. A koan is a visual riddle without an answer, designed to invoke an experience of connection with reality.
My prompt has been ‘Seeing Through’.
In my growing understanding of visual expression, there are metaphors or symbols that are present in images long before the artist becomes actively conscious of them. For instance, doors, windows and other portals have been prevalent in my work for quite some time. There are open doors, closed doors, slightly ajar ones…as well as doors and windows that frame another vista in the distance, creating a frame within a frame. In the past, the subject/object was always the structure of the portal itself. All have their distinct metaphor or symbol (a closed door has a very different message than an open one).
In more recent work, however, the portal is now more than a framing device. The viewer now steps into and across the threshold. In the photograph of the corn crib (taken months ago but recently discovered in my long-delayed editing process), the initial attraction was the structure itself, with familiar qualities such as decay, texture and entropy. The opening revealing the corn cobs has become a new story line; that of the mysterious contents the shed has been hiding; a story created around another story to give it context. Once a purposeful structure, now decaying, the exposed corn cobs, a necessary feed for the farm animals, are discovered in eternal rest. I have seen beyond the surface and created a new connection. This is the answer to the koan present in the image, which gives the opportunity to purposely seek out the metaphor of looking past surface obstacles to a previously hidden truth. What was the experience of the corn cobs revealed? Seeing beyond the surface, paying attention to the whole dance in front of me…the interplay of shapes, the structure as if holding back the tide of entropy. A piece representing the whole of a heritage now laying fallow.
Once the heart recognizes the connection, it appears in many different forms.
These more recent works illustrate this mindful seeing. The use of shallow depth of field engages the eye more in the way we actually see, rendering some areas in softer focus. I continue to explore the expansion of seeing through. The mystery of what is being revealed adds an element of play to the metaphor in the work. I delight in the way the visual world is opening in front of me.
As I continue the editing process I have assembled a gallery of images sharing the 'Seeing Through' theme. I'm totally amazed at how present this has been in my photographs through the years!