Distorted Realities?

These are not distorted realities.

They’re not illusions.

These are photographs of exactly what I saw.

Exactly.

(maybe)

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This is Marymoor Park in Redmond, Washington.

More specifically, the fringes of the park’s off-leash dog area. With forty acres of fields and woods to run in and the Sammamish Slough to swim in, the off leash area is where “dogs can be dogs.”  At 6pm on a September evening most of the dogs and their friends are heading home. The sun slips behind a cloud bank, then inches back to set the scenery aglow. Matted animal and human paths wind through stands of tall grass.  A few blackberry leaves have turned rose red, the berries themselves are shriveled from the drought.  A land snail holds tight, five feet up a dried tansy stalk.

Past the field and through the woods a boardwalk bends out over the tip of Lake Sammamish. Here, lily pads yellow and curl on the water’s surface and rushes and cattails pierce the cool air, as a Kingfisher rattles a complaint overhead. The little bright orange lanterns of Jewelweed shine at the edge of the woods. Like I do every year, I gently grasp and squeeze a ripe pod – after all, the plant’s other name is Touch-me-not. The lime green package springs apart in a quick and efficient burst of seed-scattering. This human being smiles.

We are hovering at the edge of fall, each in our own reality, each connected to the other, and to all.

 

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“The camera is a mirror with a memory, but it cannot think.” – Arnold Newman

…and I might add, it doesn’t feel.

 

 

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A Lensbaby Composer was used for many of these images, a 60mm macro for the rest,  on an Olympus om d1.

 

Celebration, Wonder and Not Knowing

Celebration…is self-restraint,

is attentiveness,

is questioning,

is meditating,

is awaiting,

is the step over into the more wakeful glimpse of the wonder—

the wonder

that a world is worlding around us at all,

that there are beings rather than nothing, that things are

and we ourselves are in their midst,

 that we ourselves are

and yet barely

know who we are, and barely know

that we do not

know this.”

 

– Martin Heidegger

“For Heidegger, human reality is both primary and irreducible. Instead of being ‘something’ in the world and thus open to scientific explanation Heidegger views human experience as the basis upon which the world shows up at all. He talks about human being as a ‘clearing’ in which the world is revealed. As such, it is beyond the easy grasp of human science which is, itself, a product of that clearing. This is not to say that we cannot, should not, seek to illuminate the nature of this clearing. The point is that this illumination can only be at best an interpretation, it is a mistake to present it as a form of scientific explanation. In addition, the fact that this clearing exists at all is a source of wonder for Heidegger. It is, simply, a mystery.

The American psychologist Louis Sass relates these Heideggarian themes to the experience of madness. He points out that many aspects of psychotic experience can be understood as a concern with the fact that human existence is not just ‘something’ in the world but rather provides the framework through which the world can be revealed. In the course of everyday life we are not aware of this framework, not aware that our reality is constructed and shaped in a particular way. Madness involves a confrontation with this framework. This confrontation is experienced by all involved: patients, relatives and professionals. Sass argues against understanding madness as a deficit state and instead suggests that it often involves a hyperalertness and a ‘hyper-realisation’ that the coherence and meaningfullness of reality are dependent on the ‘clearing’ of lived human experience. He suggests that many of the concerns which become apparent in the course of psychosis resonate with the preoccupations of contemporary artists and writers. These concerns often relate to the constructed, and thus contingent, nature of selfhood and reality.”

…from an article by Pat Bracken and Phil Thomas titled “Science, Psychiatry and the Mystery of Madness” posted at:

http://www.criticalpsychiatry.co.uk/

As a social worker, artist, nature lover, questioner and a being-in-the-world, the Heidegger quote and this article excerpt really speak to me.  I thought it would be interesting to throw some of my photographs into the mix. I hope you find inspiration here.