Eye To Eye 088 (1024x783) (2)Seeing can be mysterious. I am eager to go eye to eye with the world I inhabit, no less the world that inhabits me. I have even played the part of seer…been called upon for my insightfulness. I admit to being a quester after truth. I want to understand – probably to a fault – long to heal and whole myself to the best of my ability. I know: this questing, understanding, healing must be balanced by faith in divine intervention. I know that surrender is part of the game.

Over the last few months, I have found that photography can be a marvelous means of balancing the inner and outer seeing. Taking pictures of what I see delights me; it helps me to appreciate my world to cherish the simple gifts that each day places in my path. Later I come eye to eye with the image and receive what I have seen. Often it conveys something less than simple to my understanding. I find myself seeing through the beauty or interest of familiar things and fall into the possible meaning as effortlessly as I fell into the shallow waters of The Sound as a child.

Just the fact that I can see myself at the bottom of a glass of water and feel myself drawn to that tiny me is something of a miracle. Isn’t it? Isn’t is wondrous that I am moved to take a picture of a glass I drink from all day and every day just because the sunlight hits it a certain way, wondrous that I can see this as magical and beautiful. I am susceptible to beauty.

Inner Harbor green heron (closer up) 023 (890x1024) (2)Daily I visit the Inner Harbor Park with my dogs. This is our short walk, and short walks have been more or less the rule  as I have been fighting off the UTI.  Actually this has gifted me with opportunities to photograph other frequenters of the park. I came across this young Green Heron just after posting my last blog. Of course it seemed to me that my father’s spirit had entered the body of the bird as an offering to his freedom-loving daughter. The message: there is freedom in painting or photographing freedom.

I tucked the dogs leashes under my feet and leaned on the railing to steady my hands. This is a kind of freedom that Music and Star barely tolerate. They stand or sit as I shoot in a kind of rapture, occasional tugs of impatience travel up my legs, but my mind is set free by this process of absorbing through eye and camera eye. It is always the subject of my focus that lets me know when enough is enough, or possibly – in the heron’s case – the minnows he was catching and swallowing whole have gone elsewhere.. He flew…and I must shake myself free of my rapture and follow my dogs.

Inner Harbor Nutria 244 (1024x768) (2)This little Nutria, having taken refuge from a pre-storm flooding of the harbor had found a feast of delectable green stuff and tolerated my snapping for a limited amount of time before turning a fierce gaze in our direction and pursued. This time we were the ones to fly from the tiny beast intent on… What? I wasn’t waiting to find out.

Another fierce creature – mostly in dormant mode – has attracted my eye. A large and lazy alligator drowses on the opposite bank from the park we humans perceive has “safe”.  His wonderful laid out poses compel me to tuck the leashes and to lean in his direction. He, too, has occasionally demonstrated and a certain limit to his tolerance, has suddenly stirred and lowered his long reptilian body into the water. The water is that which divides him from me and my little dogs. We moved too…right after snapping one last interesting shot.

Inner Harbor Alligator (color) 028 (1024x816) (3)I gaze at this photograph and see balance. If one can move past the slightly menacing nature of the subject, one can perceive that the inner and outer reality is visible. I love the way the water reveals and magnifies the inner and more mysterious aspect of the creature. The original fascination goes deeper. At least mine does. As I said before, seeing can be mysterious. It is relief to me that seeing can be oblique.

When I began this posting, I did have a quest of sorts; I was hoping to find (or to see) some interior reason behind my on-going physical problems: a UTI that lingers, antibiotics that attack my system rather than heal my symptoms, a rotator cuff that continues to pain me in spite of steroid shots and rehab exercises, a digestive system that insists on simple foods and “Please… Less stress…” I have obviously digressed in my quest, but enjoyed the journey. And perhaps I do see (in an oblique way)   that I am – as they say at the clinic where I am currently receiving my antibiotic by injection – a fragile flower. More importantly, it is OK to be a fragile flower.

Walking Iris (fragile flower) 067 (768x1024) (2)


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4 Responses to “EYE TO EYE”

  1. Kendall Says:

    Leif, these photographs are breath-taking. I look and look and look, and it seems to me you have leapt light-years in your work from where you were just a couple of months ago. The heron and the alligator–oh my god, Leif, how did you do that??? The reflections are like a watercolor background. You’ve gone into some whole new realm of photography and painting together. I’m blown away.

  2. leiflife Says:

    Oh! How glorious to have a friend who can see what I am feeling! That I am painting, or that I am revealing paintings made by nature. I, too, am blown away by your response. Thank you…

  3. darleneolivo Says:

    Thank you for allowing us to go on your peace-filled journey with you,Leif. I enjoy your enjoyment, because I no longer have that love-affair with a camera. After making a living w/ it for 20 years, the thrill is not only gone, but shooting feels like such a hassle. Your eye is stunning.

  4. leiflife Says:

    Perhaps I had a similar experience with teaching dance. But the taking of photographs is still a playful and enjoyable means of creating. Also, it is re-awakening me to the beauty and wonder of the world I inhabit. Thank you, Darlene, for encouragement.

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