“We see things not as they are. We see things as we are.” — Anais Nin
This quote mirrors my thought that “we photograph as we are”. As I am preparing to depart for a long trip through Eastern Europe, I am thinking about who I am and how that will manifest in my photographs. Because of my long interest in the history of World War II and the resulting human and cultural destruction, I will be visiting a number of areas that were filled with violence and hate. This energy is the opposite of what I try to photograph. So who will I be, and what photographs will I make in these locations? The short answer: I don’t know. The deeper thought: I suspect that I will excavate a few layers in my seeing and in my soul.
In preparation for the trip, I’ve been doing some housecleaning of my files. I came across two images from last fall….images I failed to appreciate at the time so they were marked for deletion. Looking at them now I find that I am enjoying the motion and the layers in the images. The concept is not new, but I like the way the abstract nature brings forward the structure that underlies the scene. In the second image I can sense a bit of the style of the brushwork in Cezanne’s series from Mont Sainte Victoire. Recognizing this prompted me to look again at an image of a reflection from later in that same fall. In the reflected image I had immediately recognized the resemblance….why hadn’t I seen it in the earlier images?
My thought is that we see things differently as we grow, age, change, mature….or perhaps, excavate layers. I’m looking forward to fall as it is my favorite season. This fall promises to be memorable. The quote that opened the blog post has especially poignant meaning when viewed through the lens of history, especially the history of human conflict and war. I hope you’ll check the blog for images and the archaeology of my trip.
first of all, i would like to say for the purposes of what you will understand that i wrote for an anais nin newsletter in college. of course. right?!
second, i believe that the reason you are going to the camps is the same reason that you photograph as you are. what you will feel is the despair, but you will see the hope and the optimism and the goodness of the rescuers and those that perished. you have a way of peeling the layers, keron. your photographs are going to be amazing.
this was a real gem of an entry.
Well My Scorpio sister….why am I not surprised about the Anais Nin synchronicity?
Thank you for your support and deep understanding. Is there any better feeling than “we are not alone”? K
Wonderful blog- I can hear your voice so clearly in the writing. I am so looking forward to seeing your images, which will undoubtedly be thoughtful and compelling, like yourself. I also really enjoyed the previous entry and your very well put thoughts about friendship and collaboration. Hope I get to work with you again sometime!!! Or at least play- maybe next time I am in Seattle? I am off in a few weeks for a month long residency at Vermont Studio Center, with the intention of giving myself a major jolt – just taking alot of printed material with me to see what happens when I remove myself from the familiar, dispense with technology, and am faced with an empty studio, lots of paper and myself. Pretty scarey, huh?! Anyway- have a wonderful trip and I will certainly be checking your blog.
Thanks so much for visiting the blog! I would love to see you and it would be amazing to collaborate and how about this….SHOOT together! : ) Hoping to be in Ohio in November…
Don’t be scared (I know you’re not) wonderful things rise up from the stillness.
Hi Keron: Not sure when you will be heading for Eastern Europe. Sounds like a fabulous trip. In your planning for discovery of the history of Eastern Europe for the last 75 years there are many books and films that have unfairly and fairly documented the transgression(s) and torture of unfortunate humans.
Six months ago I bought a copy of a 1st Edition of a photo book that documented the lives in and around Warsaw Poland during a period when the German Nazi’s were expanding their power and influence against the European Jewish population. The title of that photo book published in 1983 was/is “A Vanished World” by venerated photographer Roman Vishniac. I bought this book from Amazon.com. Here’s the URL and purchase record.
A “discovered” German propaganda film titled “An Unfinished Film” is about to be released and depicts Poland Jews and being happy and injects actors into the film to force the viewer, and the world, to see Poland Jews not as tortured and defenseless people but as fat, dumb and happy citizens. This German documentary was lost for 60 years and just recently found.
Toward the end of WWII (1944) Hitler, recognizing that Germany lost the War, was convinced that a big part of “his” war was finding and killing Jews – The Final Solution. The last territory the Germans controlled was Hungry. Hungry also contained many, many Jews that needed to board cattle cars and head for death camps. I hope to see many of your documentary photo’s on your return.
So nice of you to comment. I’m familiar with the things you’ve mentioned. Seems I’ve spent a lifetime (Unknowingly…) preparing for this trip. I leave very soon. I hope you’ll check the blog for updates.
warmth and light,