Monday, January 24, 2011

Dreaming Awake

Fade to White
My Garden
2005


"I love art because it doesn't have any rules."
--Harry Callahan


It was born a humble, quickly forgotten photograph; just some shiny little green leaves hanging by a thread in the sunshine. They caught my eye and so I captured them. I captured them and stored them with the hordes of other photographs of mine that languish in that place between mildly interesting and hey, I like that shot now.

Fast forward to recently, years later. I was trolling through said hordes for a candidate [victim] for a little darkroom experiment I wanted to try. I was thinking about how I sometimes dream in negative images, rather than positives. I'm sure we probably all do, those of use who remember our dreams a lot. Instead of attaching some deep emotional meaning to them, I often wonder if maybe dreams are one of the passageways - rabbit holes - for our creative inspiration, so I try hard to remember mine.

I'm always so captivated by creativity - where it comes from, how other beings channel it, what it means to them and ultimately, to us. Artists like Jerry Uelsmann take those surreal, negative images I sometimes see in my dreams to a whole new dimension, painstakingly using many layers of different image's negatives to create a single print. They're an inspiring sight to see.

But back to my negative.

It's more than a little peculiar to think about an image in negative. What I mean is that it's often hard to pre-visualize, especially for those of us who live in a more realism-based theme of photography. The negative of a color image, after all, is all about contrast and tonality and nothing about color. For a color/saturation junkie, that's just...well, peculiar. But it's good to let go in life. It's good to push outside the edges of what can seem like comfort food to our eyes.

And so, on a recent sleepless night when I was prowling the darkroom of Lightroom, all fired up for something new but clueless what or where it would be, these little leaves found me. And suddenly, I simply saw them in reverse; I saw them as negatives. Just like that. It's funny where this stuff comes from.

Dreaming awake is still dreaming. I like it.

The Birth Photo

Nikon D100, Nikkor 24-120 VR, spot metering in bright sunlight a long time ago


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