We spent one day and evening in Geneva during the “Fêtes de Genève,” a huge, three week long festival on the lakefront. It was fantastic to capture the motion, the lights and the uninhibited joy of these people on the bumper cars. Can’t you just feel the laughter? When was the last time you had this much fun?
Archives for August 2010
Flowers in pots on doorsteps or windowsills are favorite subjects of mine. I love the angles of the architecture as a backdrop for the curves of the plants and the pots. There is often interesting contrast in textures and colors of ground, wall, door, pot and plant. I love the care that the inhabitants take in creating the little scene on their doorstep or windowsill. Each one is different, unique, like the people who create them. So I keep being inspired by them; I keep photographing them and sharing them here.
This morning in reading Simple Abundance, one of my favorite books at the moment, I came across this thought from the author Sarah Ban Breathnach, “…While you are offered many dizzying opportunities in a lifetime, Spirit only comes once for each Work seeking creative expression through you, then moves on. The bottom line is that the Work must be brought forth. If you don’t do it, someone else will.”
Interesting thought to ponder… that these ideas that come along to us are only “ours” as long as we do something with them, make them real. If we don’t, someone else will get the opportunity to be inspired by the same idea, and we’ll be left in the dust saying, “Hey, I had that idea first.” Which, as we all know, doesn’t count for anything.
So the “work” I’m doing with my art and the creative inspiration I receive for this blog – whether it’s sharing the art of doorstep gardens, the little everyday details I see as we travel around, the ideas that come to me for my Exploring with a Camera series, or the insights into my creative process – are only “mine” as long as I actually use the ideas. Make them into something real.
There is a a saying I love in Italian, “Tra dire e fare c’è di mezzo il mare,” which translates roughly to “between saying and doing there lies the sea.” I want to be on a boat, crossing that sea, as much as possible. I don’t want to lose out on all of these wonderful opportunities that inspiration brings along, even if it’s as small sharing the image of a few potted plants on a doorstep. Thanks for joining me along this journey to turn these ideas into something real.
Seeing this made me happy.
Photographing it made me happy.
Rediscovering it in my image files and editing it made me happy.
Sharing it today makes me happy.
Writing about it makes me happy.
Looking at it makes me happy.
Can happiness really be that simple? A photograph of a pot of flowers on a doorstep? Yes, I believe so.
What simple thing makes you happy?
(PS – You can also share your answer here!)
On our recent travels I’ve had the opportunity to see a number of photography exhibits. Some of these were planned visits, others I just happened upon, but they all show the power of photography in different ways. I love uncovering and discovering all of the different ways that photography can impact us, deepening our experience in the world around us.
In my visit to the Rosengart Collection in Lucerne, I had the opportunity to see the photos David Douglas Duncan took of Picasso. Duncan, a photojournalist, became friends with Picasso and captured some extraordinary images of ordinary moments in Picasso’s life. The thing that struck me was the humor and zest for life that Picasso had, it just comes through in the images of him in his home, interacting with his family and his art. How powerful is that, to capture the artist that created the art, and to get a glimpse of the personality? It makes my understanding of Picasso and his work so much deeper. I don’t have any pictures of the exhibit, but you can see many images of Picasso by Duncan on the web here.
As we explored the Swiss countryside around Gruyere, we stopped at the Musee Gruerien folk museum, where they just happened to have an exhibit of the photography of Emmanuel Gavillet, a modern Swiss photographer. The subject was Gastlosen – the Swiss “Rocky Mountains.” All black and white, shot with an 8×10″ film camera, the images were beautiful in their capture of contrast and texture. The display also showed some elements of the 8×10″ camera, which were helpful to explain aperture and film to Brandon, who is fascinated by the workings of my camera and the idea of “film” is completely foreign to him. The images, printed large and on the wall, were powerful. They were images full of quiet grace, showing the timelessness of nature. A reminder that photographs are at their best when viewed large, they are truly art.
The city of Lausanne has one of the first museums in Europe dedicated to photography, the Musee de L’Elysee. The current exhibit is reGeneration2, an exhibition of 80 young photographers (in art school) from 30 countries in North America, Asia and Europe. I was struck by the sheer variety of it all… from people to architecture, from candid moments to studio, from black and white to color, from film photographs to digital collage, even shape (see round photos, in image shown above). Some of the photography I loved, some I didn’t like, but it all reaffirmed my belief that we all have a unique vision to show the world. Art is personal, so for every person that doesn’t like our art, there is someone who will. We need to keep showing our personal vision, developing our own style. Regain the irrepressible confidence of youth, the belief that you can do anything, that these photographers show.
While wandering the waterfront in Geneva, we ran into a photography exhibit called “Chernobyl: 25 Years After the Catastrophe.” Powerful images from Guillame Briquet, showing the area surrounding Chernobyl today. He captured the decay of the human creations and the rebirth of nature left to itself, even in the wake of such a damaging event. What a contrast, against the backdrop of the festive carnival also happening along the lakefront. The most striking images for me were the ones that showed the evidence of lives interrupted. Just left behind. And the saddest part? It was too late for most of the people in the town of Pripyat to survive, since they were evacuated a full day after the accident because of the extreme radiation to which they were exposed.
This exhibit showed the power of photography to teach us about history, to remind us of events of the past and the longer term ramifications. To teach us about what the human ego can do, when left unchecked. Photography has the power to keep the world honest.
Finally, last weekend back in my home area of Milan, Italy I found the exhibit of Alberto Bortoluzzi‘s 24+1 Cinema Chairs Project. What a delightful find this was! Finding an old movie theater chair in the dump, Bortoluzzi was struck by the disappearance of these chairs for their cushy, higher tech cousins. He began wondering about the stories that old movie theater chairs might tell, and started to find and document these chairs. He then contacted filmmakers for their memories of the cinema and the result is a powerful essay on the history of film, through the images of these chairs and the words of the people who helped create the films. A first for me, I actually made a beeline to the bookstore and purchased the book of the project so that I could enjoy the images and stories at my leisure. Bortolozzi’s work shows the power of photography, when paired with stories, to capture something greater than the image itself. To create something wonderful and new.
Photography is amazing, isn’t it? We need to move it from the computer screen and onto the wall. We need to experience it larger than life, as a part of our physical environment. If you can, take the opportunity to go see an exhibit in person soon, and share what you learn! As for me, I think I’m going to figure out how to view some of my photos, live and in person.
Don’t you love it when things in life come together? Everything right now for me is centering on the topic of creativity. Being aware of, responding to, listening to creative urges. Following my heart.
Recently, I’ve been inspired to write posts (yesterday and Friday) about creativity, exploring the process of being creative. These posts have come to me, come through me, as I sat down to write. No planning involved, just following where my heart led.
Yesterday, I posted a comment and link in response to a Shutter Sisters blog post, about a photograph that revealed more of me through the lens than I expected. That post from about a month ago, Create to Live, reveals my fundamental desire to create. Revisiting it reminded me of what is calling to my heart.
This morning, in looking for some links to older blog posts for another project, I started going back in time. Back to over a year ago, before I was doing the photo-a-day on my blog. I found a couple of my earliest posts on following my creative urges, and the things I was learning about creativity at the time. I can see that I was just starting on the creative path, just beginning to listen to my heart.
Today, as part of a morning ritual of inspirational reading, I started the August section in Simple Abundance: A Daybook of Comfort and Joy by Sarah Ban Breathnach. It’s all about creativity, as a “sacred conduit to your authentic self.” Sarah says this about expressing creativity, “When we choose to honor this priceless gift, we participate in the re-creation of the world. When we follow our authentic path with love, embracing our creative impulses, we live truth even if what we think we’re doing is just planting a flower bed, cooking a meal, nuturing a child, editing a book, producting a television show, sewing a curtain, writing a brief, painting a pictures, teaching a craft, composing a song, or closing a deal.” That resonated with me… following our heart, through creativity, is a positive gift to the world.
So, what is it I’m getting out of all of this? A reminder that this creative journey is ongoing, I’ve been on it for a while. An acknowledgement of the progress I’ve made since the start. A realization that I am following my heart, following the creative impulses, and they are leading me amazing places. Not only that, the more I practice, the easier it gets. I get an incredible sense of wonder and awe at the whole process!
And one last thought, one last question to answer… How does this photograph tie in to the whole thing? This is an image I captured when following a creative urge. No purpose other than that. I loved the light, the afterglow of the sunset, reflected on the lifeboat of the ferry we took from Italy to Croatia. I love the composition. It gives me a sense of calm, contemplation, and of beauty in the unexpected. I followed my heart, and was rewarded. I’m starting to learn, it’s what happens every time!