For a while there I forgot about photography.
Months have gone by in which I hardly picked up the camera or even thought about the world. That’s the disturbing part. I haven’t given much thought to the world.
Maybe it’s this election or maybe it’s this transition I’m going through, the one in which I’ve had to put the dream on hold. But whatever it is, I stopped looking, which also means I’ve stopped listening, so in effect I’ve been wandering blind, oblivious to all the magic and the signs.
I think I sort of lost that special connection I used to have to life, a connection the camera enhanced by providing an impetus for my essential curiosity and the secret messages everywhere that only a photograph can decode.
You see, there were sacred waypoints I’d discover, mile markers on the shaman’s journey, hidden affirmations that urged me on. Numens are what I call them. I’ve used that word before. It describes something ineffable, something that seems to have a physical location in space but that is so much more than a place or an object.
It’s like a window, or a door, and it’s something that you feel before you see. Sometimes you don’t see it at all because it’s easy to miss but I don’t often miss them. I’m attuned to their presence. They will leap out at me and make themselves known.
And I need them. They remind me of something long buried. The connectedness of everything, the underlying link. This goes far beyond DNA and molecules. We share something timeless and formless that can never be measured. This is beyond even science and that’s a comfort. I’m not down with the arrogance of man. That we can know. That we can contain and capture and boil everything down.
There is no essence of us that can be gathered, But there is an evidence that can be seen. The eyes of the body can behold the miracle of living, and I don’t think it has anything to do with living as we understand it. There is a state of being beyond what we call alive that belies our bodies and that persists through the state we call death.
Photography, for me, reveals this. It helps me to see beyond seeing. Which is crazy and ironic. The very vision that permits judgment, and comparison, and fear can also break it down. But I have to look deeper, I have to look beyond, And it’s not even something I can do through my own force of will, I need help, I need guidance.
I didn’t set out to discover this, with a camera. It just happened. I became sort of an accidental photo-shaman. My body is a camera, my eye the lens. And when I forget that I die a little. I have to go back to a pure form of photography in which I don’t think, I don’t seek, I don’t create. I just react, like a photojournalist or a street photographer, which is what I think might come closest to the state of mind required. Which is surrender. Which is slow, patient acceptance if what is. Now there’s a life lesson in that. The camera taught me how to live.
o O 0