Keep your love of nature, for that is the true way to understand art and more.
~ Vincent VanGogh
I have always found solace and inspiration in nature, whether as a child reciting Greek mythology under the stars or photographing the milky way as an adult. I am intrigued by ordinary natural elements that most people don’t notice while on their journey through life. Elevating the beauty of the mundane, the commonplace things in nature, is a challenge I enjoy.
As I step away from shooting mostly representational images of nature, I find that photographs expressing emotion, beauty or mystery allow viewers to personally interact with photographs. I would like to have people stop and linger awhile on my images, perhaps tapping into their forgotten memories of places or things, or finding that they are seeing something more deeply that they hadn’t previously noticed.
Embracing change, I challenge myself to shoot in new ways, such as using intentional camera movement, multiple exposures, and in-camera blends. I am venturing into creating more abstract images, to understand and play with color and white balance shifts while seeking out patterns, shapes and textures in nature that fit my vision.
Vincent Van Gogh, Henri Matisse, Georgia O’Keefe and many other artists, are informing my photography with the importance and power of color, form, space and composition. And, I’m inspired and forever grateful for Valda Bailey and Doug Chinnery’s creative workshops! I continue to learn and draw inspiration from their abstract impressionistic work.
“Creativity takes Courage!” ~ Henri Matisse
(Beauty in the Time of Covid)
While sheltered in place due to the Corona Virus,, I stood many days peering out of my living-room windows to the area known as Richardson Bay, an arm of the San Francisco Bay. And each day when the tide was low, I noticed what I thought was an overabundance of algae that I had never seen before. When the Shelter in Place lifted, I was excited to leave the house and go see first hand what I’d been viewing. No humans to infect or bother me, I found joy in photographing the unusual algae display that was currently causing so much horror and angst amongst the online neighborhood community that was discussing how to rid our shores of this scourge.
My title, Sublime Slime, is my playful attempt to show you that it is possible to view algae as something else: a vibrantly beautiful plant that scientists estimate produce at least half of the oxygen in Earth’s atmosphere by converting carbon dioxide during photosynthesis. Always a champion of the marginalized (human, flora and fauna), this project suited my desire to find and reveal the beauty in the mundane.
Checking to be sure it wasn’t toxic, and working daily before the algae police found my obscure space (as well as chasing the ebb and flow of the daily tides), I mucked around in the slime, goo, and stench to discover the hidden beauty of algae. For it was Minor White who said, “One does not photograph something simply for what it is, but for what else it is.”,
On my first approach to the scene, I was stunned by what I saw draped along the shore. Gingerly stepping amongst the dried and still green algae, I realized that I would need to use several different lenses to capture my intention of showing something other than what most people see or don’t see. I wanted to begin seeing in a more abstract way. I settled upon my toolkit and employed a few different lenses (a macro, a Lensbaby, a 70-200mm and the workhorse 24–105mm). My other essential tools were a tarp (to cover the mud while scrunching my body into obscene positions to photograph), gloves, mask and rain boots. I was ready and protected from come what may!