STATES of BEING: Entering

1.

These photographs are about entering. Some are more literal, like the photo above and some are more metaphorical. Some may not make sense to you but they might to someone else. When I photograph, if all goes well I enter into a relationship with what’s around me, a relationship that unzips the strictures of thought and lets the moment bloom. This is what keeps me coming back to the camera – this entering into the particulars of place, this being absorbed into all that my senses perceive. Later on, the pleasures of looking at, reworking, and sharing the images I make are an extra happy byproduct of those times when it all goes well.

*

Entering, we embrace the particulars

of the timeplace –

(call it the placetime if you prefer).

We attend to a play of light, a certain hue

or shade of green, the fading trill of a bird –

not any bird, but this bird. We notice

the precise angle of the torn edge

on a vandalized billboard, the oddly sharp scent

of the air passing under our nose.

This entering into the wherewhen

(call it whenwhere if you prefer)

is tied to attention,

rapt attention.

Attention!

It springs and spreads into awareness

from a liminal space

between eye, ear, nose, tongue, skin, and brain matter.

Senseorgans, brainmatter, attention, and entering –

yoked together

like tide and shore.

There is no apartness wherewhen

we dissolve the tangles

of self

that tend

to obscure

this particular

timeplace.

*

2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.
11.

12.
13.
14.
15.

***

It was a morning in early summer. A silver haze shimmered and trembled over the lime trees. The air was laden with their fragrance. The temperature was like a caress. I remember – I need not recall – that I climbed up a tree stump and felt suddenly immersed in Itness. I did not call it by that name. I had no need for words. It and I were one.

Bernard Berenson

***

Additional posts in my “States of Being” series can be found here, here, here, here, here, and here.


76 comments

    • Your comment is interesting, Ken, thank you. A few of these, like the gourds, are pretty old. The man looking out the window with the mirror was at a museum in Germany and the still life near the end was at a small museum in a northern California Gold Rush town. A lot of these are photos that didn’t fit well into other posts, photos that I like but hadn’t shown. They seemed to fit with this idea and the first one especially seemed tailor-made. It’s from an airbnb at a beautiful old building on a canal in Leden, Netherlands. Thanks again!

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  1. Marvellous! Some great images to go with your prose, and I like
    β€œSenseorgans, brainmatter, attention, and entering –

    yoked together

    like tide and shore.”

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Stunning images (as always), Lynn.

    I’m particularly taken with the #8 and the still life images. #8 draws me into the frame and creates such a wintery bleak feeling that I can almost feel it in my bones. The super sharp focus is part of what makes the sombre tones create that emotional drawcard.

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    • It’s very gratifying to see that #8 spoke to you. I felt strongly about including it but then I wasn’t sure how well it held up when I saw it with the others. So good! It’s bleak but that’s real sometimes, as you imply. πŸ™‚ Thanks so much!

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  3. Gorgeous photos and writing, and a big YES to this: “When I photograph, if all goes well I enter into a relationship with what’s around me, a relationship that unzips the strictures of thought and lets the moment bloom.” I especially adore the still life in nbr 13, the fruit or gourds with stems arranged in perfect harmony. Lovely post.

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    • Thanks, Babsje, it sounds like you have the same experience. With your eyes being less able than usual I bet there are plenty of other ways to enter into the moment-place-time. The still life was from a Gold Rush museum in the mountains of Northern California. The gourds grew a beautiful fungus (I think that’s what it was) and were sold at a farmer’s market. That photo is from 10 years ago – where did I put those gourds?? πŸ˜‰

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      • Thanks! Even with my wonky eyesight I noticed the lichen-like growth on your gourds. It added a sort of patina or craquelure effect that enhanced the photo in a painterly way. I’ve bookmarked this post so I can see that image fresh when my sight is back to normal but I love the depth and texture just the way I see it with my blurry / impressionistic filter.

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    • Reflected/refracted, a good way to put it. That was a museum in Cologne – the man was looking at a complicated construction site involving archaeological “stuff.” #14 is a small Gold Rush museum in the Northern California mountains. It’s good to lose ourselves in museums and outdoors, right? πŸ™‚ Thanks for your thoughts. I hope things are warming up nicely in Wisconsin.

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  4. Almost a little bit scary, but you managed to put on a feeling I had a few days ago. Returning to a place to look for the spring, but I was only sitting on a log that a beaver had felled. Spring was everywhere in the form of scents, warmth and birds’ throats bursting with song. But my feeling for the camera did not show up. I sat for a long time and finally pictures came to me. I literally sat on them. The decomposition of the old birch was in full swing and we became aware of each other. The time was there but next spring would be a different time. The moment was just now. Then my own time disappeared…..

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    • I don’t think I could ask for a better comment, Hans. Thank you for taking the time to explain, I really appreciate it. I can imagine what you described – just sitting there, surrounded by spring, and wondering why you don’t have the desire to pick up the camera or maybe you don’t have any inspiration. It happens. And then something comes to your attention, like a gift. That time it was decomposing wood, a gift we hardly ever notice. I love that you said, “we became aware of each other.” Each time and place is unique, isn’t it? And it’s such a pleasure when we lose our own sense of time (but I get into trouble for that!). πŸ™‚ Thank you again, Hans, have a good evening.

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  5. These photographs are perfect illustrations of your entering β€œinto a relationship with what’s around [you], a relationship that unzips the strictures of thought and lets the moment bloom.” What a wonderful phrase for what you do. Wood never looked so warm and the way forward so inviting as shown in your first photograph. The wide view of #2 feels freeing in an almost-visceral way. How many more curves could there be in one photo as there are in #4? They invite contemplation. Love the repetition of the round shapes of the car headlights and the [whatever it is] in the side mirror in #5. Mystery and contrast in #6 keep me looking. I feel the dampness in #7 and #8; the verge of spring seems to be in the air. The colors and shapes of #9 through #12 are fun to see. I love the carry-over of colors and tones from #13 to #14; even the shapes of the objects are compatible. You are caressing them with your camera. Number 15 may depict sunrise rather than sunset, but once again you have given us the just-right ending photograph.

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    • I don’t know if they’re the perfect illustration of something that’s hard to describe but it seems it worked for you, and that counts for a lot. You can thank that classic Dutch light for the first photo, make at our airbnb in a beautiful old home on a canal in Leiden, ahhh. I like what you said about the damp, verge-of-spring feeling in two of the landscapes. It looks to me like #7 has turned blurry in the download – is it blurred on your screen? Why does that happen? One more thing to do – delete and replace. It was nice to be able to include photos like the still lifes that don’t fit well into other posts that I’ve made. And don’t ever be fooled into thinking I’ve photographed a sunrise – unless I’m in the Artic in June I don’t think it’s going to happen anytime soon. That was sunset. πŸ˜‰ Thank you for generously sharing your thoughts! p.s. I love your new post – hope to comment soon, busy week. πŸ™‚

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      • Sad to say, but yes, #7 is blurry. It still has that almost-spring feeling, though. Best wishes for getting through your busy week. No need to rush commenting on my post; I’d even forgive your not commenting at allβ€”especially given my poor record of commenting on your posts.

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        • Thanks – I switched it out and it looks better from here anyway. πŸ˜‰ I’ll get there! Observing G B herons this afternoon – last week a number of nests had eggs, and some had 3!

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  6. Hi Lynn, Beautiful opening thoughts and poetry that captured in many ways the feeling I have when immersed in the art of photography. There’s a big difference between looking and seeing and you’ve shown through your images that you really see. Your still lifes took my breath away with their exquisite light and tones. Your clever mirror shots that most people would miss. And your opening and closing landscape images captured the colors and light that I’m sure compelled you to look through your lens. Great post. πŸ€—

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    • Thank you! It’s hard to describe that feeling but it’s something we share with many other photographers – and other people in general. The man in the mirror was at a museum in Cologne – I’m sure you know the feeling of visiting an art museum and getting inspired to make photographs. πŸ™‚ I’m glad you’ve been able to get to Anzo Borego – saw your beautiful post & will comment later. Enjoy the day!

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  7. Oh I know that “itness”. I wish it would come more often, and I see it clearly in all your photographs; where you have entered *into* the moment – *in* the moment. So often for me, since I’m “travel photographing”, and usually only have a split second to get the shot, that entering comes after, during the editing process when I discover the real photograph, the real wherewhen, in a small part of the original image I captured.
    Again, a wonderful collection that I was delighted to enter into. #9 especially pulled me up short in its beauty and composition.
    Alison

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    • I think you have a good point – travel photography can tend to be more purposeful than this kind of entering into the moment. That’s especially true if, even in the back of your mind, there’s a thought of posting later, blogging, what would work well in a post, etc. On top of that, it’s not easy to lose yourself in the moment when you’re with someone else. I find that I make far fewer photos when I hike with other people. When I’m traveling with Joe the photos lean more toward the documentary end of the spectrum. But I think of some of your photos of people and I think you’re really in the moment then, even if it’s fleeting. You connect with people’s energy. It’s interesting that you discover what was going on later – that makes sense. πŸ™‚
      #9 was in Leiden! πŸ˜‰

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    • Thank you very much for stopping by, commenting, and following, Chris. It’s fun to go a little deeper and to work with images and text together. The next post will probably be about a brief trip we made to the desert steppe of eastern Washington last week.

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      • It looks like you didn’t enable comments on your site so I’ll mention here that I really enjoyed taking a look at it. In ‘Flag and Field’ I particularly liked ‘Untitled’ and ‘Maine Garden’ – but they’re all very good. ‘Bus 11 (II) and Buss 11 are other images that appeal to me – I love seeing through various screens, like the wet bus window. Cheers!

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  8. EnteringΒ  At first I think you enter rooms, beings, landscapes.Β  But no, it’s the other way around: you become quiet, attentive, finally, in a kind of trance, you open up and let things into you.Β  They enter you, unfold in you until they merge with you.Β  And in this precious moment, one of those special photos is created, which radiates from this extraordinary entity and gives the viewer joy.

    Β Your poem reflects this mystical process in its details and lets me participate in it.Β  I feel a bit like a voyeur, looking into events that I’m not supposed to see, only the miracle that appears as a picture at the end is for the others.Β  But I also know the need to let friendsΒ  into this process, in which one is very alone with the images in one’s head and all around.

    Β These photos come from very different situations, it seems, and yet they are closely related.Β  I can’t describe this relation, maybe similar lighting conditions, but rather something less technical.Β  Rather, it is something of you that is contained in all of them.Β  They form a common whole, from which I don’t like to single out individual pictures.Β  Each is a treasure in itself, but together they form something that is more than the sum of its individual parts.
    Grand, dear Lynn, in words and photography!

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    • I hoped the first photo might express both the literal sense of entering into a room and the other sense of entering into the experience of the doorway. It’s obvious that you understand what I’m trying to show here. I like that you felt a little like a voyeur when you read the poem, that’s interesting. It shows a certain intimacy that I want to create. It’s true that though this entering is done alone, there’s great value in sharing the experience, whatever way you share it – for me and you, using images and words. When I’m outside with friends, I enjoy socializing so I don’t make many photos. It’s hard to cut off that social energy enough to be able to enter into the place more fully. But it’s not impossible. And I think more of that sense of entering into an experience happens when you work on the photos later, don’t you? It’s gratifying to know that you find a common thread in this varied set of images.
      Thank you, dear Ule.

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      • You’re right, Lynn: while working on the photos later, that entering-experience often happens. I know that from forgetting time passing, not knowing time has come to eat or drink or move a bit πŸ™‚

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  9. A very fine post Lynn, in words and pictures! All of the pictures are special. 13 and 14 look like paintings! Amazing. When I look at your pictures, it is the “moment” you captured, the moment you were there, the moment you merged with your surroundings. In Germany we often use the word mindfulness, but I think it is more than that. You described it in your own words at the beginning and yes, I can see and feel it here πŸ™‚ Sometimes I have such moments, especially in the woods. I forget where I am and when I am and I am only focused on the item in front of me. But these moments are rare and mainly in nature. With your pictures I would say it is your state of being – all the time πŸ™‚

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    • Thank you! It was fun for me to discover how the two still-life images work together, even though they are from different times and places. What you said about mindfulness and this state being more than that is interesting – I think so, too. And I think you enter into that state more often than you say, Almuth! πŸ™‚ I believe you can increase the possibility of being in that state where you forget about yourself just by relaxing and letting go of things that are outside of the immediate place and time. The more you do it, the more it happens. It’s much easier in nature, I agree. But it’s certainly not my state of being all the time! I’m flattered that you said so. πŸ˜‰

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      • Maybe not all the time, but more often than others for sure πŸ™‚ Do you think it leads back to your zen times or is it a newer experience? Yes, probably one can increase it, but a still surrounding like in the woods helps me. It rather happens when I meet with my sketching group. When we concentrate long enough we are all gone, even in the middle of many people in the centre of the city πŸ˜‰

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        • Yes, the zen training made room for that kind of experience to be more frequent. I guess I’d say I had that tendency even as a child but if I hadn’t spent those years in the zen community it wouldn’t be as easy for me to get into that state. Isn’t it nice that even in the city, you don’t have to be distracted by everything going on around you. I’m sorry I haven’t visited your blog for two weeks now but it will happen soon. Going away and being busy put me behind. Oh and BTW (by the way) My chives came back! There are 8 buds!! πŸ™‚

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        • Oh, congratulations to your chive buds πŸ™‚!!! I am impressed! Maybe you will have some visitors from the realm of the insects πŸ˜‰ Don’t worry about visiting my blog. I don’t blog very often at the moment. See ya πŸ™‚

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  10. You had me at the title, Lynn. Every photo drew me in and suggested deeper layers. And your thought for the ages – “When I photograph, if all goes well I enter into a relationship with what’s around me, a relationship that unzips the strictures of thought and lets the moment bloom.” I’ve been trying to resume a higher level of photography now that my cataracts are gone and my hands are working working well enough to handle a DSLR. It is a challenge to regain some ground but I’m taking a few online photo courses and participating in various groups, trying to resume that relationship with my surroundings. Thank you for the inspiration.

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    • It’s great to hear from you, Lynn. I haven’t reached the cataract operation time stage yet and I kind of dread the prelude to it. So far, my eyes aren’t too bad. The hands work, too, but the back and neck are quite problematic. There’s always something, right? πŸ˜‰ I switched to a micro-four-thirds camera a long time ago. They’re so much lighter and easier to deal with – you might want to consider that at some point.
      You must enter this state in your garden and music all the time. I’m pleased that the post speaks to you and encourages you to go further with photography. Have fun with the courses and groups!

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  11. ‘Entering the Wholeness.’.. Would be my summary; hope it suits you.. πŸ˜‰ The poem is great; I can find myself in there.. While juggling around in my head with the possible meanings of your words, the following popped up: I once wrote a thesis about ‘De Stijl’ (Mondrian and Van Doesburg). Theo van Doesburg was named a ‘Hegelian’.. so I read a bit about the philosophy of G.W.F. Hegel; and I forgot all about it, except his dialectic model of Theses, Anti Theses, Syntheses. It was explained for dummies by the allegory of falling in love.. ‘I’ (Theses), losing myself completely in the beloved other (anti-Theses); and then, in the glorious wake up, finding yourself connected in a couple-unity (Syntheses). The Anti-Theses would be your ‘Entering’; and the Syntheses would be: ‘It and I were one’.. When it comes to photography, I think I take the best shots when I lose myself in the subject; maybe such a photo is a Syntheses as well. It is hard to put these things in words. Your conversation with Almuth brought up the question: If you would reach that permanent state of ‘being in harmony’, would you still make photo’s?.. I certainly would miss them. πŸ˜€

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    • Yes, that suits me just fine. πŸ™‚ I’m glad (but not surprised that you can relate to the poem. It IS hard to put ideas like this into words and I admire you for doing it in English. I know you’ve spoken English for a very long time, but still, it’s not the language you live in.
      A permanent state of harmony? Never. Nothing’s permanent, you know that! πŸ˜‰ I can agree that there has to be a certain amount of tension to have the desire to make a photo – but there are so many different kinds of tension. That would be a “good” kind of tension. The tension in the air when people are fighting – not so much.
      I’m not familiar enough with Hegel’s dialectics to be able to comment on your head juggling but I’m glad you went off into a philosophical place as a result of this – that makes the effort worthwhile. Thank you!! πŸ™‚
      Did I tell you we’re going to Iceland? Late August – mid-September. We have plane tickets and a car rental, but nothing else yet. I plan to go back and look carefully at your photos of Iceland – they were really good. Where do you recommend we go? Why don’t you come and meet us? πŸ™‚

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      • Last words about Hegel. If I understood well, his dialectic idea’s went so far that he considered that ‘In the beginning’ God was a fully quiet holy spirit in the total nothingness. But to get something done he splitted himself in two parts: a spiritual part (theses); and a material part (anti theses). That made it possible that the Theses could experience and ‘get lost’ in the Anti Theses. The Syntheses would be ‘become conscious’… And at the end of that proces God would be totally self conscious. I like the idea that I, in my small struggle to become self conscious, am a tiny spark that ‘helps’ God to become totally aware of hoe he is.. And whether it’s true; or total bullshit, it feels way beter than what most religions of the world demand from me. So, when you ‘Enter’, you’re just helping God.. πŸ™ƒ
        Wonderful news about your plan to visit Iceland. It will nock you of your feet. Most likely you will start in Reykjavik. Close to R is the Blue Lagoon; kind of spa, with warm, light blue water. I didn’t go in there because the lavafield around it also contained the weird blue water, ‘in the wild’ also saves you money.. Then there is the Golden Circle with the Geyser of Strokkur; Gullfoss waterfall and Ping Viler or something; presented as must sees; but unpleasantly crowded with tourists. Most people make a round-trip along the highway that follows the coast. That will bring you to JΓΆkulsΓ‘rlΓ³n, an impressive glacier lake. Most beautiful places I have been to are Landmannalaugar and Lakagigar, but those places are more Inland and harder to get to, especially without a 4wheel drive. There is more; everywhere.. I give you a link to Dirk Willems photoblog; even a greater Iceland addict than me. He also makes great macros; I have named him Microman. .

        https://fotografiemijnlangleven.wordpress.com/2023/02/22/ijsland-2019-deel-50/

        Unfortunately I’m not in the position to join you. πŸ˜ͺ Enjoy planning your trip! Say hi to Joe and yourself as well! πŸ™ƒπŸ’šβœ‹

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  12. Wonderful thoughts, words and photos. My favorite image here is #13 … what a wonderful still-life … beautiful subjects and light! Your opening image is perfect for the subject of this post.

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