Identity presence existence metaphysic existential reality:
these are the issues.
“Life is an illusion and we trick ourselves into thinking and believing it’s real.” ~ mobius faith diaries
When I took this photo (below) I was fascinated by the door handles, lock and chain. But as is often the case – after I got home and started processing the image I realized something quite disturbing. I was standing directly in front of these doors but nowhere in the image. No reflection of the photographer. Where had I gone? Where was the photographer? I suddenly began to question my existence for some reason. I began to doubt all that I thought I knew was real. I just could not fathom…. logic told me that when someone is standing in front of an object that is casting a reflection that person should be part of the reflection. But here, the glass doors were reflecting the street behind me but showed no interest in reflecting me – the reflected image was not interested in my narcissistic obsession. Okay so this is the stuff of nightmares. I actually did have a nightmare about this the night I processed this image. There had to be some logical explanation. There was NO “photoshopping” of this image to remove my reflection. I had simply disappeared at some point in time between the time I pressed the button on the shutter and when the shutter closed again. This was during the day so there was no time-lapse – I was shooting at full speed.
I noticed the crack/space where the two door meet. Had I disappeared into the crack of dark space. And if so how come I have no recollection? If we cease to exist do we have no recollection of what came before? If we cease to exist on this plane do we just start some other existence with no remembrance of the existence we had when we were mortal corporeal beings? Had I crossed some astral plane to the other side of the doors and was looking out? At one point I did actually wonder if I was looking out or looking in thru these doors. One can see the windows in the vacant dark space which contrast with the reflection of the street. But again, I began to question – is this a reflection of the windows or reflections of the street?
Your music moment today is provided by Khôra featuring their track ONE IS THE OTHER from their album Silent Your Body Is Endless on my favorite Canadian Label (Constellation Records).
***The truth of the matter – destroy your illusions – reflections have a way of bending. And that’s exactly what happened in this image. As you can see in the photo there is a space between the doors which means they were not sealed tightly shut. They were bowed out slightly reflecting the sides of the entrance and the street behind. The doors were bowed out enough to allow me to stand in the crack or space between without being in the reflection. You can figure out exactly how much if you measure the angle in the reflections which seem to close in behind me. Also logic tells me (and you hopefully) that there is no entranceway like this that narrows then gets wider as you get closer to the door. Think of a theater – outside on the sidewalk the entrance is wide and then funnels you into the doors not the other way around.
Bottom line. I no longer have nightmares about getting lost and disappearing. I CAN understand, appreciate and enjoy when it does happen. 🙂
I once read something that got me thinking about how I photograph different subjects. I’ve started becoming more interested – not in just photographing a subject but actually photographing in a way that may allow people to look beyond the subject. How do we frame a subject?
Is the frame to be ignored for the subject?
Investigate the setting. Investigate the frame.
Can you see behind? What is hidden by the subject? What is revealed by the frame?
How does framing a subject tell us more about the subject than the subject itself?
For many in our image conscious culture life beyond the frame is frequently unthinkable. I think the opposite is true. Looking beyond the subject can deepen my appreciation and understanding. It inspires more questions on the journey that can propel the viewer further into the world of the image.
If you’ve followed me for some time then you know that I am a big fan of abstraction. And so often my images have been composed only of the subject itself. I haven’t changed As one friend told me “you actually think in abstract.” Maybe I’m just starting to expand my view to include a larger world and larger context in which the subject appears and that – for me – is just as interesting as the subject itself. That’s why I love images like the ones I’m posting here where the subject almost seems like a void – a vast emptiness that nearly fills the frame of the image but is framed by its surroundings.
I like the contrast between being and nothingness (as Sartre would phrase it). I find the tension between two opposite things utterly compelling. Existential imaging?
SHOW ME EVERYTHING – by Tindersticks from the album The Something Rain
It’s been said that eyes are the window to the soul. If that is true then the camera must be the tool that captures the soul. There are still living people and cultures that do not want you to take their pictures because they are afraid you will entrap their soul. What you see here is my soul. Make of it what you will. Like everyone I think you will find that it is filled with both darkness and light. Brilliance and shadows. Empty and full. Forms beyond comprehension. But there is always the hope that light will overcome the darkness.
This photograph is not a double exposure. I was standing at a door to an abandoned mansion and looking through the glass. I could see through the front room and through the room to the other side – looking outside. In addition the glass on the door was reflecting the outside that was behind me. So I was stuck in the middle – not outside – not inside – somewhere between. And now that you are looking at this image I am stuck in the middle with you. I enjoy your intimate gaze into my soul. Whatever “it” is – It’s not what you think….
Sometimes life is ALL walls & windows… no doors.
But it is still life.
And in my confinement I found contentment.
Quietly sitting in the center
To weak to climb the walls
I found a shovel and started to dig instead.
My contentment brought enlightenment
and opportunity… my sight was more
than any window could afford.
~ mobius faith (Akron,OH 8/5/17
I sometimes wonder if we are not under some mass delusion that good health is normal.
All around us, the world is in decay. In fact the human body is in decay the moment it is born. It only lasts as long as it does through maintenance – proper eating, hygiene, exercise etc. But ultimately it will become diseased and die. Disease is lives up to its name because it can be so damned uncomfortable but that doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with it – that’s just the nature of the beast. Disease is the norm. Bacteria and virus live with us 24 hrs a day, 7 days of the week and 365 days of the year. There is not a single second that we go without. Even after you shower there are still bacteria on your skin. It is impossible to be “clean”. Yet we delude ourselves constantly.
There is also mental and emotional states of decay. We just now give them fancy clinical names that give us the delusion that we can control and eliminate them. But any controls are only temporary. In the end they always come back and the mind itself dies.
Maybe that’s what spooked the horses. We just need to “deal with it”.
Zoviet*France – Something Spooked The Horses
I once saw a sign and my first thought was, “Hmmmmph, that’s the story of my life!”…..
In the past few months I’ve noticed that has been my reaction to more and more signs. These signs just seem to be coming into focus of my awareness in a way they haven’t before. In fact there almost seems to be an oppression by signs. Some are just general informational signs. Things that announce operating hours, directions to a place, time it takes to get somewhere, who to call (and it ain’t Ghostbuster’s), and other general announcements. But I’m finding, and maybe it’s just my growing awareness, that more and more signs are dictating things. Signs that tell us to do one thing or another, telling us what we can and can’t do. And there are signs that are used to threaten and control…..
That is the focus of this new photo project I’ve started. These signs make up the story of our lives and can tell us things about ourselves, our culture, our perceptions and misconceptions about the world in which we live. So while one may dismiss these images in this project as just pictures of signs. I am asking the view to go further. To go beyond the obvious. To ask questions and let these signs bring new understandings.
Here are eight of the 20 odd images I’ve collected so far (in no particular order). Enjoy.
Another entry from my journals…….
MESSAGES FROM THE FUTURE #19
I feel gravity.
The invisible net
cast over me.
Weighted to hold me down.
Resistence to slow me down,
pressing in on me,
doing its very best to squeeze
and crush the breath out of me.
Having tried to think of God
as freedom, boundless, expansive
Creator of endless possibilities ………
What if God is merely the cage?
The trap, or pen, to corral all that IS free.
A reaction to regret.
Regret of even imagined freedom.
The body is the cage of the spirit.
Gravity is the cage of the body.
Invisible bars to restrain and hold back
the abandoned Tower of Babel.
Like the word cages and traps the idea.
In the beginning was the word…and the word WAS God.
Maybe Atheism is the cure for God!
The destruction of gravity’s cage.
The release of the spirit; free-flying bird.
The soaring on eagles wings.
Seeing, comprehending, knowing
The perfection of silence –
The unspoken truth of all things.
Silence: all that ever was, is and will be.
That perfection that comes immediately after
the last sizzle of water extinguishing flame.
The beauty of darkness and quiet.
Silence has no gravity.
******* About the artwork: Messages From the Future #19 (created 2013) is a digital, photo-based creation intending to question the spoken and written word. It highlights the paradoxical viewpoint of language as both lie and life simultaneously. A self-negating notion. “Silence is golden.”