I’m working in a few directions with photography these days, but this is the image making it up here for almost-explicable reasons. I’m working on scanning some old black and white film, which is amazing. These old pieces of sheet film remind me of the first time I saw a Van Gogh painting up close. I had a shock of recognition: Van Gogh had managed to put some kind of energy — the energy of his mind, his experience, his contact with the world; something intangible but palpable — he had put that energy into each brush stroke. I could feel it, standing there in front of the painting. And I realized that what I was trying to do then as a young man was possible. I didn’t know exactly how to do it, but I had the strong aspiration to contain some kind of energy and awareness into the physical objects, print and film.
I think I sometimes pulled it off, and sometimes still do. These old big pieces of film that I haven’t looked at for many years hit me with a little jolt sometimes, when I get a sense of that some-kind-of-energy trapped in the surface of the silver crystals. But this scanning project is a process just barely underway, and hampered by the same thing my life with sheet film always was — how to find the thing I’m looking for?
The other thread in my thinking is continuing with my interest in the Ukiyo-e, “floating world” composition and aesthetic. I have one of those from last week, new, but I’m not positive it’s good enough to go live.
Anyway, this new image, “dandelion with centurea” is from this spring/early summer. It’s been haunting me a little bit, and I felt compelled to put it online. I like the way it shows the moment as a precarious dot in the space of time. The dandelion gone to seed is at the edge of what it has been, starting the wind-born journey to what it will be. It’s moment is all but gone, yet clearly in focus, master of the moment. And moving into its own is the blue of the early summer garden flower, more than holding its own against the weed.