My fascination with photography goes back almost 60 years. At the age of six I received a plastic-bodied Kodak Brownie on the occasion of my sister's wedding. Since then photography has been a recurring passion for both my technical and pictorial interests.
In September 2008 I spent a week in Nova Scotia with Freeman Patterson, the elder statesman of Canadian nature photographers. Freeman had originally studied divinity at Columbia University and was therefore well educated in psychology. One of the most insightfull thoughts he gave us related to his own experience of noticing a recurrent pattern in some of the images he made and realizing that it represented an internal struggle he was facing. He concluded that such patterns reflect some personal issue, often subconciously, and that the subconcious is attuned to external images that echo such issues.
Reflecting on this thought, I recalled a number of recurring patterns in my own images over the last 10 years: lone trees, views throught the doors or windows of darkened rooms, and reflections, often abstract reflections, in pools and flowing water. Blue Reflections (above) is one of the best examples of such images and although it is almost entirely abstract, it has always provoked a strong reaction, ever since I caught it. Although it violates all the "rules" of good composition, it holds my eye wonderfully.
So I was particularly pleased with the comment of Joshua Chuang, the juror of this show, that he too experienced a strong emotional reaction to this image. I would be hard pressed to provide a rational explanation for my fascination with these images of reflections - of which now there are a number of series. I find comfort in Freeman Patterson's suggestion that what we choose to capture in the camera is sometimes neither random nor rational, but instead is decided in part by the subconcious mind.
Long ago I learned the trick of throwing questions and problems into my subconcious and then returning some time later to learn what it has done with them. Usually I am asking it for words for a talk or a piece of writing and it replies with a narrative or some other text that answers my need. But here we see that sometimes its answer is to draw my attention to scenes that I should capture.
Sometimes I feel that I have a third eye. There are moments when I get a sudden signal that says "There's a picture in there", even before I have taken in the scene. I simply know that now or later I have to stop and look for this picture. A recent example was a short bus ride I took from a car park in Danbury to the campus of the Western Connecticut State University for an address by the Dalai Lama. At a certain moment I glanced out of the window of the bus and for literally one second I saw the entrance to an old cemetary. It was October and the oaks and beeches were brilliant with colour. But even before I noticed the trees, I knew that there was a picture in there somewhere.
What we photograph is usually rationally sought out. But once in a while the unconcious speaks through our eyes and then we find images that connect deeply with our emotions.