Iím an amateur photographer. A few years ago in the midst of grieving the loss of a parent and grandparents, I began taking photographs as a way of rediscovering my sense of wonder of life. Initially this was quite a task as both my interior and exterior landscape seemed to be an unremitting arrangement of grey shadows. It was a challenge to find a fragment of beautiful colour lodged here and there, in what I thought was an increasingly chiaroscuro world. But the more I walked and looked for these pieces of joy through a camera lens the more I found them. Photography has especially helped me to understand that perceiving and translating lifeís experiences through visual metaphor is a powerful way to find mindful clarity. Eventually the tide changed under a flood of colour and creative shapes blossomed. Grey outcrops still occasionally mark my psyche, but they have become navigable landmarks that are essential to the balance of life.
Ancient philosophers used to ponder the nature of Beauty as if it were a force of the universe. In Western culture it is difficult for most of us to embrace that as having anything to do with our perception of reality. We believe beauty can be bought, controlled and should be an easy arrangement of surfaces. Especially where the human form is concerned we try to make beauty ageless. We are afraid of the marks imprinted on us by our own life stories. Our sense of beauty is brittle, empty, and we are suffering for it.
Photography reminds me of the importance of slowing down, looking deeper, of leaving things open for mystery. Perhaps because I am so nearsighted I am drawn to tiny dramas; reflections in water, a frozen leaf, an empty birdís nest, the expression of an old statue. I am especially drawn to beauty in Nature and how it can be found hiding out in odd places.
© 2008 Karin M. Weber