The Manifestations and the Mystery

“The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness.
The gate to all mystery.”

~Lao Tsu

Shibui, Wyoming

Shibui, Wyoming

 This first verse of the Tao Te Ching translated by Gia-Fu Feng has been the spring board for many seekers of all ages for over 2,500 years.  As a professional photographer and gallery owner, I have always found inspiration in poetry, literature, philosophy, and truth.  I have read books that have inspired me for months on end and finished others that put me into a much needed contemplative mood.

When I am out photographing nature and landscapes, people often ask me why I bother using a cumbersome, heavy large format camera in this day and age. To be honest, it seems to always come back to simplicity, quality, slowing down, and respecting time.  As I am not in a hurry, desire is curtailed — and if I don’t capture the image that too is okay. I know in the larger scheme of things, I am not in control.  So, in the end, if everything comes together and I am able to capture the essence of what was presented, then for a moment I caught a glimpse of what lies beyond the gate.

Cooperation is the key ingredient, therefore, throughout the entire procedure I try my best to slow down, listen to the unknown and seek out its manifestations. It’s a dance with light, the ever-changing elements and time.  Then the second act begins, namely the process. It’s not allin the process, but to arrive and bring forth my visual interpretation it is equally essential.

At this stage in my career, I am not one that feels they have to be out in the field every waking moment from sun up to sunset. Like the song goes, “There is a season turn, turn, turn.”