The Ineffable Now

I don’t really know why I am drawn to these things. I don’t know why I feel compelled to photograph them. They possess an obvious aesthetic quality, a certain elegance of form, but it’s something deeper than that. There is something beyond form that pulls me in and captures me before I capture it. And if I am being captured, am I really capturing anything at all?

Is there a sense beyond sense, like a frequency or a waveform that I am receiving? The truth is I have no recollection of taking this photograph. It’s been a couple years since I visited this beach at Point Reyes and I had overlooked this image entirely, until now. I don’t remember stopping here. I don’t remember what I thought – if I had any thoughts at all. I do know that I rarely think in the field. I often discover photos of objects that I forgot I took. And they’re startling. They mesmerize me. Such is the case with this weathered,  bow-shaped tree trunk. I look at it now and think, how could I have forgotten this marvelous accidental wind sculpture?

Sometimes an object or a place, in a certain light, conveys a spiritual energy that is difficult to articulate. I can see more than shape and volume, color and texture, labels and conceptual forms. I see, or sense rather, the being behind the form, the greater whole that lies behind the mask of what my eyes perceive. It’s as if the entire universe is somehow contained within a given scene and all that is right and true is there, like a doorway, like a window, like a talisman.

Maybe that’s what it is. Some things point the way to truth. The universe reveals itself sometimes, and we manifest it subconsciously in a form we can understand, like the image of the Virgin Mary witnessed by a group of children on a wall. Maybe these images have meaning because I give them meaning. Or perhaps it is the encounter itself. My trajectory intercepts the arc of another, not on the horizontal axis of time, but on the vertical axis of the Now. In that moment I stumbled upon a portal, and I managed to capture it on film through some mechanism of perception beyond the body.

I don’t know how I find these places. But they seem to be everywhere. And they are the reason why I became a photographer. Passages hidden all over the world reveal secrets beyond words, beyond expression, beyond understanding. The ineffable now.

“All in all, the creative act is not performed by the artist alone.. the spectator brings the work in contact with the external world by deciphering and interpreting its inner qualifications and thus adds his contribution to the creative act.”  ~ Marcel Duchamp


2 thoughts on “The Ineffable Now

  1. “Some things point the way to truth. The universe reveals itself sometimes, and we manifest it subconsciously in a form we can understand” I know exactly what you mean and you express it beautifully. I am thinking very much a similar thought today. I love this photograph — the depth of your art and emotions comes through in it.

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