A dancer's career on stage is short lived. After the stage, maybe the dancer teaches others how to be in tune with their bodies and how to flow with the music that is carried by the air. I've always felt that the air and wind are dancers.
I studied music in Boston. It wasn't just classes about composition or performance or technique, but I also studied the philosophy and artistry of other art forms and their relationship with each other and music. To this day I still ponder the things I learned about the interrelationships among the Arts. It was a valuable experience for me to explore seeing all of the Arts as one, and not separate entities. I didn't know, at the time, how extremely important this would become for me.
Though I learned how very similar the artistry between musicians, visual artists, writers, and dancers is, it didn't register that this applied to myself and my art, too. I understood how it applied to me as a musician, but beyond and deeper on some sort of spiritual creative level? Nope. I think that it wasn't the time for me to put it together and really understand.
For years I have experimented with the kind of art that I do. There are too many things that I love to do, too many ways to express something or feel something. I want to do all of it.
I would stay awhile in one thing, for many years even, and then move to another. And when it came time to move on from one expression or medium to work in another I would feel a bit sad. Why can't I be just one kind of artist? Is it that I can't decide? How are people musicians, dancers, painters, their entire lives? And if I'm a dancer, and then become a musician, then am I not a dancer anymore?
My go-to craft that I could deeply identify with and say, this is the kind of artist that I am, seemed to ultimately allude me. But then I had forgotten that the one thing I never ever moved on from was photography. Like a heartbeat that you forget you have, it kept going, always with me, always a part of me. I didn't see it for what it was because it wasn't the time for it to grow. I needed to learn and spend time in these other creative lives first.
And so it is that I have discovered these many years later, and to my astonishment and delight, that every creative pursuit, study, manifestation, intention... every single bit of it IS my art and they are all connected and they are all nourishing and inspiring my photography today.
I didn't lose anything at all.
The realization hit me with a tremendous force, and I'm still feeling it.
Flowers have never been one of my favorite subjects to work with in photography. I have painted them plenty and didn't feel this way, so I felt frustrated. Behind a lens I felt that I couldn't reach them or feel their life energy like I did when I'd paint them in all sorts of ways. In a photo they were a snapshot, a catalog image, static and quiet captured in time.
So I tried macro photography, a popular and beautiful way to bring the patterned world of the flower closer to us humans. These patterns flowed in front of my eyes and made me feel like some sort of huge insect. I couldn't feel the energy or the fleeting message of the flower in this way either.
Until the day I danced with these orchids in the image above and introduced movement. Movement like I had when I painted them. It wasn't for them to do something for me, it was for me to do something for them, to interact with them. And there it was... a joy in expression, a shared energy, a moment that meant something and said something.
Intentional Camera Movement (referred to as ICM) as it's so boringly called, is a technique in photography where you move your camera on a vertical or horizontal plane, or in a completely wild burst of movement during a slightly longer exposure. The dance of the ICM drags color and pulls line and shape into the out of ordinary. It can look like a disaster, or, it can be magical. It is how I danced with these orchids that they were able to gift me their story in response.
It is connected now, dance and photography.
There is symbolism in this image. The color white represents in eastern tradition purity and rebirth, it is the color of mourning for when the circle of life in this realm is complete. In western culture it also represents purity but also a new beginning. Together, the two thoughts are so beautiful and encompassing.
Orchids symbolize many things, among them being love and affection, beauty, strength and resilience, and self-development. What a beautiful message to tie all of this together... a culmination of creative expressions met with symbolism. This is part of the story, too.
"Dancing with Orchid Spirit" means a lot to me because it is this image which unlocked that waiting door where I feel a dance, I hear music, I see painterly strokes, and I express it all with these words that end here with,