The Silver World pt.8 Zen Practice Snow Photographs

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Photographs from the 
Silver World Part VIII ~ Zen Practice Snow Photographs   

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(Zen practice)
from the 
Silver World 
Set IV

This forth set of Silver World "snow photographs" contains 15 "straight" photographs and 2 symmetrical images.  All were made on the same day from inside my son and daughter-in-law's house, including the source photographs used to construct the two symmetrical images.  Though you cannot actually see snow in the majority of the photographs here, perhaps you will be able to feel its presence in the light that came through the windows into the house that day.  It was a cold, cloudy day, and yet the deep-snow-reflected light seemed to have given the interior spaces and things and a special, glowing luminance, a living presence.

On the morning of the day I made the photographs I had been reading books about Taoist influenced art (Francois Jullien's book The Great Image Has No Form) and studying my Zen Art books.  When we visited my son and his wife and our recently born grandchild later that day, when I entered the house I began feeling a lot of creative energy welling up within me.  Perhaps my studies, or the excitement about seeing my new grandchild was what initiated this energy flow, in any case I felt a strong desire to make photographs and began working quite spontaneously, intuitively; not-thinking--just working in an enthusiastic, enjoyable flow with that vital creative energy.  After less than twenty minutes I had finished making all the images you will be seeing here.   

An interesting part of the "back story" to these photographs has to do with the fact that my son's wife is Chinese.  She and had just recently given birth to our granddaughter and her   parents were visiting them from across the seas in China to be of help to the new parents and their grandchild.  It seems to me, the presence of the parents who had just come from China, the presence of the new-born baby, and the fact that I was in the midst of my Silver World project and feeling excited by my studies of Taoism and Zen Art--I think--provided an interesting and meaningful context in which the pictures presented here were made.

When I used the term "straight photographs" above I meant to say that the images have undergone very little or no significant transformations after the digital picture file was made in the camera: the finished images you see here are relatively straight-forward renderings of what the camera recorded.  On the other hand the symmetrical photographs, which are four-fould constructions using one image repeated four times and conjoined at the center point of the image construction, are quite dramatic transformations of the original source image.  (If you want to learn more about this, click on the link I've provided at the end of this project page.) 

I would say that "presence" is a primary concern in these photographs, or "emptiness" in the sense that the Taoist would speak of it, which really is a fullness of presence, a fullness of "spirit" in the spaces and things I photographed.  I will not elaborate too much on how I believe the concepts associated with Taoism and Zen Art production in brush-work transfer to the act of making photographs, but such a correlation does exist for me.  At the most basic level, intuitive "heart-spirit" spontaneity is at the very center of Zen brush work, and I believe that is also true of my picture-making process in photography.  The most highly accomplished Zen Art is the fruit of years of practice: practice with the brush and ink, and practice in meditation--two practices which are truly speaking intertwined and inseparable from each other in the sacred art of Taoism and Zen brush-work.  It is in this sense that I use the word "practice" in the title of this project page.  

I have been practicing meditation regularly under the guidance of a meditation Master, and studying the yogic scriptural texts, since 1987.  Each is a "practice" in itself, and yet they compliment each other very powerfully.  And I also see my creative process in photography as a spiritual practice as well: when I am photographing I enter into a concentrated state of mind that is one-pointed; my heart is open, and I feel "spirit" (to use a Chinese term, or in other words "breath-energy" or "breath-resonance") projecting out of me and into the world of spaces and things that I am pointing my camera at.  The act of photographing truly is for me a form of meditation in action.

The creative state of mind I enter into as a photographer must be related to the meditative state of mind the student of Zen enters into when he or she is practicing their brush-work.  The brush carries the "spirit-knowledge" or the "fruits" of the student's years of Zen meditation practice and practice-practice into the painting or calligraphy.  Each brush-stroke--each photograph--is an important part of a greater process of seeking Zen "enlightenment" or in yogic terms, "Self-knowledge."  Each image . . . an important and necessary step along the way.

"Dried flower in front of screened window"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #1

"Snow scene made from inside the house through a window"    Zen Practice Photograph    Snow: Silver World      Image #2

"Plant, framed photographs, reflections of snow"   Zen Practice Photograph  Part 8    Snow: Silver World   Image #3

"Dark shape in window pane, leaf in snow"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #4

"Trees through sky light"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #5

"Reflection in flat screen TV"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #6

"Long decorative window, snow outside"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #7

"Spilled water and reflections in kitchen counter"    Zen Practice Photograph    Part 8   Snow: Silver World    Image #8

"Potted plant in front of window"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #9

"Electric piano and artificial flowers"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #10

"Pillow on couch, vines"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #11

"Lampshade and shadows"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #12

"Light switches"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #13

"Chinese chair designes"       Zen Practice Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #14

"Opened Chinese box on top of book shelf"     Zen Practice Photograph    Part 8    Snow: Silver World     Image #15

*  *

~  Symmetrical Photographs  ~

"Window Plant"      Symmetrical Photograph     Part 8      Snow: Silver World      Image #16

"Baby"        Symmetrical Photograph        Part 8        Snow: Silver World          Image #17

*               *               *

This part 8 of the Silver World project
~  Zen Practice Photographs ~ 
was announced in the "Latest Addition" section 
of my website's Welcome Page on
April 16, 2015

Welcome Page  to The Departing Landscape website which includes the complete hyperlinked listing of my online photography projects dating back to the 1960's, my resume, contact information, and more.