I’m influenced by Ansel Adams. Using him as a jumping off place for making art isn’t so bad. So, if the image “Quietly, Quietly” evokes the “Aspens“, you’re right.
“Quietly, Quietly” was made in Swan Point Cemetery in Providence, Rhode Island. While my work isn’t specifically about death, it is a response to my own temporality and relationship with the eternal. Most old cemeteries are beautifully landscaped and thus a great opportunity for creating images. In any case, I was leaving when I saw these birch trees. I liked the contrast against the leaves and the new life that was growing around it. I was also drawn to the space defined by trees. What can I say, I start my journey through composition
What did I want this image to do? The better question is “What did creating this image do for me?” that answer is simple, it was relaxing. Making art is about getting away from the world as it is and creating a world as I want it to be. I am not a documenter of space. “Quietly, Quietly” is about the stillness existing inside us when the ego is diminished.
The title came as an outside voice. I just looked at the finished image and heard the words “Quietly, Quietly.” Maybe it is a visual pun with music “Piano, Piano” and the black and white contrast is just nature’ music score? I don’t know.
Making meaningful images, for me, needs to be slow. I wish I could get the same experience with a faster method, and lord knows I have tried, but something is missing. In this world of faster everything, the unintended consequence is a paucity of stillness. In fact, such things are shunned as being “unproductive” or grandiose commercial enterprises are built around it (Canyon Ranch). Seeking stillness in your life is necessary in a restless world and you must be able to access it wherever you are.
Another definition of that stillness is God. Granted, the divine in nature is rarely quiet or still. In fact, nature is in constant movement so how can I ascribe something to nature which defies the definition itself? Simple, the stillness I seek really has nothing to do with time or motion. It is a glimpse into the eternal which transcends time. It is appropriate that this image was made in a burial ground and yet was teeming with life.
Every time I look at this image, my mind goes a little blank. I step out of the day and enter a singular moment. For the time I’m engaged in looking, the world dims around me. That means it’s working.