The forest floor



I've been selfish with my time. I've posted less here than I've intended to thus far. I am deeply immersed in work and working far too many hours to keep daily or even bi-weekly posts coming. This is no complaint - busy hands are happy hands, and busy mine have been. That being said, I have also been jealously guarding a series of images of which I am particularly fond. You'll not see all of these today, or even this month. I find myself hoarding and guarding images for no particular reason but that I feel that they deserve to mature on my hard disk until either I've fulfilled my own selfish need to keep them hidden or until I know there is a surge of future coveted imagery behind, ready to wash these images onto the blog. The forest floor. When I was young, my father had a friend who lived on the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, nearby but not within the Saugatuck area. His backyard was a young forest that covered a gully formed by a creek. The creek eventually emptied into the lake and we often found its end by walking down to the white sand beach. The forest floor is still fresh in my mind. The banks of the creek were sandy, but the floor elsewhere was slippery and treacherous with wet-rotted and toadstool-covered deadfall after a rain, as soft as down with the fires of deciduous plumage in the fall and verdant with small flowers and clover in the summer. There was a tree swing near the water and I can still remember building a small fire to relax and enjoy the October chill with my family. I tugged at my father's sleeve and asked kindly enough until he let me head down the gully with his Nikon F3, his 28mm lens and a roll of slide film to try and record the birches and the forest floor on emulsion. I wanted the camera to see it, to feel it the way I did. I lost the rewind lever using the rope pull to regain the trail along a steep and frost-covered slope, spent a while searching for it and resigned myself to the trouble of having the poor fortune of losing a piece of the camera on my first trip out. Nearly twenty years later, on the road through Redwoods National Park, towards a point named Klamath we stopped the car and I couldn't help but make a photograph of a vast, woven carpet of clover - a tapestry of leaf and flower that put the best woolen works of the great near Eastern rug-makers to shame. I didn't lose the rewind lever this time (in fact this camera doesn't even have such a thing), but neither did I recapture that fungus-padded birch forest floor. Maybe our best memories are the ones without pictorial illustration. I still feel that pull to make images that somehow connect with the way I see and feel spaces. I still feel the pull to make images of natural scenery or wild animals. I suspect that this desire is seen in some circles as shallow or unartistic. I know, however, that I am not alone and that the use of natural symbols is not merely derived of a meaningless aesthetic or the result of some kind of post-modern, post-industrial, nature-loving guilt trip. Photography has always held my interest because I want to be immersed in beautiful natural spaces. My connection with my own images and with others' photographs comes from the same germ as the thrill of witnessing a beautiful landscape or enjoying a few moments or hours of solitude on a trail. There are many natural symbols whose meanings, though lost to our modern lifestyles, still impede upon some subconscious and base level of ourselves - shouting their meaning through a gulf of time turned to forgetfulness. Our nature-loving may be like laughter - without it the world would hurt too much to bear. http://ift.tt/1hHmGeP