The Space Between Black & White and Color

The Space Between 
Color and Black&White   
Studies VI  ~  August 4, 2014

   Fig. 1  The Space Between Color and Black&White   Tire Swing      

Click on images to enlarge 

"The first and simplest [meditation technique] . . . is the dissolution of thoughts.  [Another] method . . . is watching--simply watching--for the beginning point or the ending point of the breath, the pause that occurs when the breath itself 'turns around.'  It's the point at which one breath has ceased and the next has not yet begun.    

There is great attainment to be found in this space between the breaths. . . .  In fact, the 'point at the beginning and the end' can also be the pause between two thoughts, two emotions, two physical movements, two states of mind.  It can refer to an interstice that appears within any dichotomous activity.   Any of these spaces . . .  can serve as an entry point into the vast realm of Consciousness."   Swami Shantananda,  The Splendor of Recognition, Sutra 18  


In summing up I can say this about the green-red pair:
Each colour calls forth the other in the eye.
Between the two colours stands grey.

Paul Klee

"The Space Between" was the initiating conceptual and visual direction for my last project, The Creative Process.  This project, which begins with textual quotes regarding meditation techniques and the words of a great German artist and theorist Paul Klee, extends my contemplation on the theme into that grey area which lies between any two things: in and out breaths, heaven and earth, black and white, black&white and color . . .   

As I looked back at the color photographs I have made over the past several years I was surprised to find that many of them tended toward the monochromatic.  The color in those dominantly greyscale images usually function as a subtle, atmospheric presence rather than a dramatic event in itself.   I like the monochromatic color images in their own right, but also for the way they unite the black&white image with the presence of color.  I have included a careful selection of the earlier monochromatic images with my new word to remember and honor the earlier work and to deepen the imaginal context with which to build a coherent sequence of images within this project, for the flow of images from beginning to last, and the space between the selected sequenced images is an essential part of all my creative process.   

I love the black&white photograph with it's luminous silvery greys; the first thirty-three years of my photographic life (from age 10 to my first color project River Songs, 1988) was devoted to the black&white photograph.  I am dedicating this project to the mid-tone and it's interior light which overflows from its space between both the black and white image and the two primary colors, red and green. 

Yogic Studies &  Studies Projects
This project is Part VI of an ongoing series of projects entitled Studies.  My first Studies projectbegun in 1994 and extending six years into the year 2000, is a large collection of miniature black&white photographs.  The miniature photographs are visual responses to short, pithy miniature musical pieces. click here   Studies, Part II is a direct extension of the first project and is also musically inspired; the project is dedicated to the great jazz pianist and composer Thelonious Monk. click here   Part III, 2006-2011 was my first Studies project in color. click here   

I have found it useful to think of the earliest studies photographs as "practice pieces," quick, spontaneous explorations and improvisations on multiple thematic ideas.  The miniature photographs were made in the spirit of preparation for a larger, more substantial "artistic" statement.  Working in this attitude was quite liberating for me.  It enabled me to photograph freely, intuitively, without being burdened and limited by a weighty, conceptual direction. 

The idea of making photographs between color and black&white seems to lend itself to this free spirited approach to experimentation, that is to say, simply photographing with this idea in the back of my mind in order to see what spontaneously unfolds from within my creative process which often consists of generating lots of single images and then selecting and sequencing a body of work to form a visual whole much greater than the sum of all its parts.   


Related to the idea of photographs as "practice pieces" . . .  I have recently been thinking a lot about my creative process in relation to my yoga practices (meditation, study of the yogic scriptures, etc).  This had been a central consideration in my last project, the Creative Process, and it obviously is continuing into this project as well.  See my chapter devoted to Swami Shantananda's book The Splendor of Recognition and the chapter on The Symbolic Photograph.

The space between breaths and the space between color and black&white is a metaphor or symbol for a place that transcends the visible world.  My meditation teacher, Gurumayi Chidvilasananda, defines this "place" in the quote below as the innermost chamber of the soul: the heart.  There is an emphasis in Gurumayi's statement on the sacredness of this space and the importance of the practice of remembrance.  

The pictorial space in a photograph that is functioning for me as a symbol is indeed sacred space; I can feel the numinous presence pervading the shapes, tones, light, the total atmosphere of a symbolic photograph.  The true visual symbol--a manifestation of grace, a container of grace, and a transmitter of grace--is a "vision of the heart."  It is my experience that the space between black&white and color is a sacred space, a place from which divine, unsayable "knowledge springs forth."  In this quote by Gurumayi she is speaking of the space of the heart as the dwelling place of one's own divinity:

Remember [the heart], the innermost chamber of the soul, the place where only you and your God have access, the place deep inside.  Remember to visit this place.  That is where wisdom is.  From there, knowledge springs forth. . .   Meditate on [the] sacred space in the innermost chamber of your own soul.  When you get in touch with your own divine power, you create paradise.  Allow yourself to remember your divinity within.  from Enthusiasm by Swami Chivlilasananda  


The Turning Point 
This project, then, is a visual meditation on that point which 'turns around', the place where color is merging into black&white tonalities  . . . the point at which one breath has ceased and the next has not yet begun.   It's the place of transformation, but simultaneously it's the space of pause, of stillness in which tensions between two different states of visual being have reached equilibrium and become united in peace and silence.   This space of equilibrium is simultaneously still and alive, filled with the palpable feeling that transformation is continually, recurrently manifesting there. 


One early morning, shortly after I had decided to begin exploring this project theme, I found myself laying in bed suspended in that transitional space between sleeping and waking.  I gradually began noticing how the colors in my bedroom were emerging from the grey of twilight.  I felt compelled to get up and try to articulate what I was seeing and experiencing in photographs.  (See Images #1, 2 and #3 below).  

I had often observed how colors merge back into the greying light of the evening twilight hours, but this rather intimate experience of watching colors emerging in the interior space of my bedroom as the light was growing became for me a kind of "wake up" call which synchronistically affirmed my decision to begin this project.   

I love the word twilight and the poetic-metaphoric beauty of its meaning.  I use the remembrance of my early morning experience of twilight as inspiration for moving forward into this project.  It helps me enter more deeply into the the extraordinary, imaginal world of that space between color and black&white . . . a space that is not limited to the hours before sunrise or sunset, for the space between is a timeless place, a placeless space  . . . "the innermost chamber of the soul". 

Curtained bedroom window, early morning  The Space Between Color and Black&White  Image #1

 Bed postearly morning   The Space Between Color and Black&White   Image #2

Bedroom vase, blue reflection    The Space Between Color and Black&White  Image #3

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Live in the nowhere that you came from, 
even if you have an address here.  

Sacred Space and Symbol
Since a small child I have been aware of an unsayable presence that fills apparently "empty" space.  The yogic teachings say that the divine exists in all things, everywhere, even in that which does not exist, that is to say, nowhere.  Another way of saying it: The Creator exists in all the created worlds, both those that are visible and invisible.  

The symbolic photograph can make visible the invisible; it can make palpable as a felt presence the secret, hidden treasure within all things and spaces.  But the viewer of the symbol must be willing to pause, quiet the mind, and enter deeply into the image through an imaginative participation in the image, a practice I define as contemplation.    

It's of course difficult to write and speak about the subtle, mysterious things of life, but it cannot be otherwise, for truth transcends a physical thing, a place, a name.  Truth manifests as the unresolvable dilemma, the contradiction, the paradox, the union of opposites.  Truth is the Unity of Being which is beyond things . . . between things.  Truth dwells in the heart; symbols are "visions of the heart." 

A photograph which functions for me as a true symbol, which visually unites inner and outer corresponding archetypal images, is overflowing with numinous presence, an unsayable silence which stills my mind and opens my heart.   "Knowledge springs forth" from the sacred space of symbols; symbols speak the language of the heart, in silence.  To receive a symbol's gift we must become still, and listen.  Contemplation of a symbol is something like a silent conversation that occurs beyond the limiting power of words, in the nowhere, in the sacred space of the heart.

Each photograph presented in this project, then, must rigorously satisfy the following two requirements: it must articulately address the visual problem of being between color and black&white; and it must function for me as a symbol.

 Grey wall drawing with blue light reflections    The Space Between Color and Black&White     Image #4

Snow on window screen    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #5

Leaf shadows on wood pillers    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #6

Light on leaves    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #7

Rain drops on screen, round table    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #8

Glass table top    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #9

Door handle, shadows    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #10

Door, cloths pegs    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #11

Hanging night gown    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #12

Dried plant shadow    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #13

Bedroom lamp    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #14

Chest of Drawers knobs    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #15

Turtle, bubbles    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #16

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Tire swing    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #17

The Point : The Line: The Circle : The Void  
I traveled to Turkey in 2011 and discovered Islamic Sacred Art.  My experiences in Turkey resulted in a large multi-chaptered photography project "An Imaginary Book."   At the heart of Islamic Sacred Art, which for the most part is non-figurative geometrical abstract forms and repeating leafy arabesques, is the mystery of the Origin of the Point.  From the Point comes the line, from the line the circle--with the Point of Origin at its center, and from the circle comes the crystallization of all geometrical forms and their repeating, rhythmical patterns.  

The origin of the point is sometimes referred to as the VoidNothing, Nowhere, Emptiness.  Since I have already used similar terms in my introductory remarks above, and have addressed these themes visually in varying ways within my collection of photographs for this project, I thought it would be at least interesting and perhaps useful to include the following textual excerpts on the point, the line, the circle and the void by several highly respected Islamic scholars:


"Islam’s concentration on geometric patterns [which are based upon mathematical laws of repetition] draws attention away from the representational world to one of pure forms, poised tensions and dynamic equilibrium, giving structural insight into the workings of the inner self and their reflection in the universe.  

The circle is the archetypal governing basis for all the geometric shapes that unfold within it . . . reflecting the unity of its original source, the point, the simple, self-evident origin of geometry and a subject grounded in mystery.  

The circle has always been regarded as a symbol of eternity, without beginning and without end,  just being . . .  In the effort to trace origins in creation, the direction is not backwards but inwards."   Keith Critchlow, Islamic Patterns  


"The Islamic doctrine of Unity places emphasis on the "otherness" of that which is Ultimate Reality, that is, emphasis upon the truth that God is completely beyond all that the ordinary mind and the senses can conceive as reality in the usual meaning of the term.  If we consider God as the Ultimate Substance or Pure Being, then there is an aspect of nothingness or void which lies in the very nature of the whole created order.  God and His revelation are not identified with any particular place, time or object.  Hence His presence is ubiquitous.  He is everywhere, in whichever direction one turns.   

The void symbolizes the sacred and the gate through which the Divine Presence enters into the material order which encompasses man in his terrestrial journey.  The void is the symbol of both the transcendence of God and His presence in all things. . . Whenever and wherever the veil of matter is removed, the Divine Light of Unity shines through. . .  Hence "Whithersoever ye turn, there is the Face of God" (Qur'an, 11:115).    

The use of the void in Islamic art became, along with the use of geometric and other forms of abstract symbolism, the only way to indicate the Unity which is at once everywhere and beyond all things.  Emptiness in Islamic art becomes synonymous with the manifestation of the sacred."   Seyyed Hossein Nasr,  Islamic Art and Spirituality


"The point can be seen to be the basis of spatial compositions in the same way that Being is considered to be the inner reality of all beings.  All bodies in space can be geometrically reduced to a point: it is both the whole and the part. 

The meaning of the point is that it is seen as a potent symbol of the ultimate Reality, a graspable geometrical principle capable of revealing the relationship the divine Essence bears to the world.  The point is a nonspatial principle that has no parts.  All that is manifested in the bodily world is divisible; the point cannot be determined by sight because it is indivisible.  The perceived point is an expression of its reality, a mental concept, the definition of which is "a single, indivisible substance."

The ungraspability and incomprehensibility of the point renders it a potent symbol of the ineffable divine Essence or God in the state of nondetermination.  One Sufi writes:  "the Point is a symbol of God's essence that is hidden behind the veil of his multiplicity."

The Circle becomes the symbol of the first comprehensible form of unity the Essence takes on.  The circle's inherent geometrical  qualities are thus conditioned by the metaphysical reality it embodies.  The Quran teaches that the world depends in its existence on God while God is self-sufficient.  The circle offers effective cues that help us understand the paradox of unity and multiplicity.  Although the circle and the center are mutually dependent on each other's presence, in the sense that circularity demands a center just as centrality demands a domain, the center, as a point, remains autonomous and self sufficient on its own.

As a whole constituted from the four natures, man reflects the primary divine quadrature of the first and the last, the outward and the inward in different ways.  With regard to God, he is the inward; with regard to the world, he is the outward; with regard to to God's intention in the creation, he is the first; and with regard to his existential formation, he is the last.  Thus man is first in intention, last in existence, outward in form, and inward in spirit.  Holistically, "he is to the world as the point is to the circumference."

The letter Alif (A), written as a vertical stroke, is the first letter of the Arabic alphabet.  According to Islamic mythology the alif became the origin of all letters.  "Indeed the Alif is non other than the Point itself which is an eye that wept or a drop that gushed forth and which in its downpour was named Alif."  Numerically the alif is number 1; geometrically, it is the line; and calligraphically, it is the diameter of the circle within which the other letters are differentiated.  Accordingly, the alif represents the first definable form of unity that emerged from the undefinable point.

The analogy between the manifestation of the world and the differentiation of the letters is a common theme in the Sufi literature.  In the same way the manifestation of the divine presence was not caused by anything other than the irradiation of Essence itself and its inward love to be known, so was the manifestation of the alif caused by the overflowing of the point.

The letter ba' (B) written as a horizontal line with a point underneath it is the second letter of the Arabic alphabet. . . .  As a horizontal extension the ba' grafts the shadow of the vertical alif standing before the radiating light of the point.  As the shadow of the alif, the ba' carries within it a visible trace of the original source, which is the point that appears beneath it. . . . 

In the Sufi tradition there is a dialogue that takes place between the letter ba' (B) itself and the point that lies beneath it.  "The point says to the ba':  O letter I am your origin because you are composed of me. . . Without you I would not have been the point of the ba' and without me you would not have been the ba' with a point.  How many symbols have I struck for you so that you may understand my unity with you, and know that your expansion in the world of the seen and my concealment in the world of the unseen are two modalities for our same essence. . .  If you want to conceive of me, imagine yourself, the letters, all of them, and the words, small and large, than say point, that totality is none other than myself, and myself is none other than that totality."  Samer Akkach, Cosmology and Architecture in Premodern Islam 


"Not only does man stand at the point of intersection of the vertical and horizontal axes of existence, but he also lives at the moment when the eternal and the temporal meet.  He is at once a being located in time and the process of change and one who is made from the Eternal and the Immutable and who is able to gain access to the Eternal even when living outwardly in the domain of becoming.  He can, moreover, live in time and experience it not only as change and transience but also as the "moving image of eternity."

Time itself is impregnated by the Eternal in such a way that every moment of time is a gate to the Eternal--the moment, the present, the now belongs to the Eternal itself.  God makes the world in the Eternal Now, the point at which all times are present.  This "now" is to time what the point is to space.

Creation is renewed in every moment.  Time is no more than the repetition of the instant like the line which is formed by the repetition of the spatial point.  During this point in time the whole world returns to the Origin through the movement of contraction and is recreated through expansion like the two phases of breathing.  At every moment there is a fresh creation and the link between the Creator and His creation is incessantly renewed. 

The spiritual man sees in the forms of nature the signatures of the celestial archetypes and in her movements and rhythms the exposition of a metaphysics of the highest order.  To such a person nature is at once an aid to spiritual union,  for man needs the world in order to transcend it, and a support for the presence of that very reality which lies at once beyond and within her forms created by the hands of the Supreme Artisan.  To contemplate the cosmos as theophany is to realize that all manifestation from the One is return to the One, that all separation is union, that all otherness is sameness, that all plenitude is the Void.  It is to see God everywhere."   Seyyed Hossein Nasr,  Knowledge and the Sacred


"The fountain of human creativity is the poetic basis of mind--from it comes all that we are.  From that source, there flows both Sound and Silence.  Poetry is language that always stays near the source and hears the coursing of that primal Silence.  Poetry is born on the edge of silence and listens into and speaks out of that Void."    Tom Cheetham:  All the World an Icon

Vine covered Garage window    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #18

Round glass table shadow    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #19

Hanging round store window sign    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #20


Shadow, oval window, laundry basket    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #21

Hat, pair of glasses    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #22

Sink, oval bowl with round jar rim    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #23

Round table, Pine trimmings    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #24

Nocturne: bowl of grapes    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #25

Bathroom towels, oval mirror    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #26

Plastic covered wire ball     The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #27

Rubber band on stainless table    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #28

Gardner's hat, car seat, red & blue bags    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #29

Stainless bowl in pan cover    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #30

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In summing up I can say this about the green-red pair:
Each colour calls forth the other in the eye.
Between the two colours stands grey.

Paul Klee

The Grey Point : Between black and white  
I want focus now on the space between black and white--and between red and green--which Paul Klee calls the "grey point."   Of course grey is a constant presence in the work I have included in this project;  it rests at the center of the black and white dichotomy and it can be understood as a metaphor, which the text excerpts below will make clear. 

The great Swiss German artist Paul Klee (1879-1940was a dedicated teacher, poet, musician, philosopher, and a prolific writer as well as a prolific artist.  He wrote many theoretical texts on the visual arts, on the act of creation, on the formal elements which make up a visual image.  Most importantly for me, he acknowledged and attempted to approach the transcendent nature of the creative process.  He saw the metaphor in the natural world, in the images he created, in the tonality between black and white and color:  grey.  I love Klee's art work, which consistently reaches into that supreme level of symbolic functioning that I want to see in my own work.  And I appreciate his writing which probes deeply into the creative process where finally he surrenders to that mystery which he acknowledged lies beyond the intellect.  

I am providing below some text excerpts from his many essays, lectures, diaries and notebooks which I feel relate to the themes of my photography project.  Note: all texts were excerpted from a book which I highly recommend for its collection of Klee writings, and for its selection of large scale excellent reproductions:  Paul Klee (Temporis series) 2013


Creation lies as genesis under the visible surface of the work [of art] . . .  The power of creativity cannot be named.  It remains mysterious to the end. . .   We cannot state its essence but we can in certain measure move toward its source. . .  Merged with matter, it must enter a real and living form.

Chaos as an antithesis is not complete and utter chaos, but a locally determined concept relating to the concept of the cosmos. . .  Chaos can be Nothing or a dormant Something, death or birth, according to the dominance of will or lack of will, of willing or not willing.  The pictorial symbol for this "non-concept" is the point that is really not a point, the mathematical point.  The nowhere-existenct something or the somewhere-existent nothing is a non-conceptual concept of freedom from opposition.

If we express it in terms of the perceptible . . . we arrive at the concept grey, at the fateful point between coming-into-being and passing-away: the grey point.  The point is grey because it is neither white or black or because it is white and black at the same time.  It is grey because it is neither up or down or because it is both up and down.  It is grey because it is neither hot or cold; it is grey because it is a non-dimensional point, a point between the dimensions.  The cosmogenic moment is at hand.

The establishment of a  point in chaos, which, concentrated in principle, can only be grey, lend this point a concentric character of the primordial.  The order thus created radiates from it in all directions.  When central importance is given to a point: this is the cosmogenic moment.  To this occurrence corresponds the idea of every sort of beginning (i.e. procreation) or better  still, the concept of the egg. 


[The work of art] grows in its own way, on the basis of common, universal rules, but it is not the rule . .  .   The work is not law, it is above the law.  As projection, as phenomenon, it is "forever starting" and "forever limited". . .  Art is a transmission of phenomena, projection from the hyper-dimensional, a metaphor for procreation, divination, mystery.


All ways meet in the eye and there, turned into form, lead to a synthesis of outward sight and inward vision. . .  Through the experience that he [the artist] has gained . . . his growth in the vision and contemplation of nature enables him to rise towards a meta-physical view of the world and to form free abstract structures which surpass schematic intention and achieve a new naturalness, the naturalness of the work.  Then he creates a work, or participates in the creation of works, that is the image of God's work.

Art does not reproduce the visible but makes visible.  The very nature of graphic art lures us to abstraction, readily, and with reason.  It gives the schematic fairytale quality of the imaginary and expresses it with great precision.  The purer the graphic work, that is, the more emphasis it puts on the basic formal elements, the less well-suited it will be to the realistic representation of visible things.


Formerly, artists depicted things that were to be seen on the earth . . . Now the relativity of visible things is made clear, the belief expressed that the visible is only an isolated case taken from the universe, and that there are more truths unseen than seen.  

Every energy requires its complement to bring itself to rest outside the field of force.  Abstract formal elements are put together like numbers and letters to make concrete beings or abstract things; in the end a formal cosmos is achieved, so much like the Creation that a mere breath suffices to transform religion into act.

The relation of art to creation is symbolic.  Art is an example, just as the earthly is an example, of the cosmic. . .  We can say that imagination, born on the winds of instinctual stimuli, conjures up states of being that are somehow more encouraging and more inspiring than those we know on earth or in our conscious dreams.

Symbols console the mind, by showing it that there is something more than the earthly and its possible intensifications. . .  Art plays in the dark with ultimate things and yet it reaches them.    


Of a rather different nature is tone value . . . the many degrees between black and white.  One degree has white energy more densely or more loosely packed; another is more or less weighted with black.  One degree can be weighed  against another.  And further, the black can be related to a white norm (on a white background), the white related to a black . . .  or both together related to a middle grey.

The symbol of pure tone is the weight scale stepped between white and black.  But what is appropriate to the nature of pure color?  What symbol best expresses its character?  The complete circle . . . 


From point to line.  The point is not dimensionless but an infinitely small planar element, an agent carrying out zero motion,  i.e., resting.  Mobility is the condition of change.  Certain things have primordial motion.  The point is cosmic, a primordial element.  Things on earth are obstructed in their movement; they require an impetus.  The primordial movement, the agent, is a point that sets itself in motion (genesis of form).  A line comes into being.  The most highly-charged line is the most authentic line because it is the most active.  In all these examples the principal and active line develops free.  It goes out for a walk, so to speak, aimlessly for the sake of a walk.  


As the pendulum (with a fixed central point and a weight attached to the thread) swings quietly back and forth, we suddenly think away the force of gravity . . . or if we swing the pendulum with so much force, gravitation is overcome.  In either case the bond with the earth is broken and the cosmic form of motion sets in forthwith; the pendulum begins to swing round in a circle, which is the purest of dynamic forms.

In the circle the dominant power is the centre.  The circle results from the primordial dynamics of a point connected with a dominant centre (by the power of constraint).  All positions are possible; that is the symbol of dynamics.  

Visible movement is created by an increase or decrease in the quantity and quality of the energy employed.  Through tension, the state of rest is changed to movement.  Movement and countermovement give rise to dynamic balance or the purest of dynamic forms, the circle. 


The movement may be from left to right or from right to left.  A centre emerges, central grey.  As this becomes purer, so the grey becomes smaller and smaller.  In theory it even shrinks to a point.  From the left of the grey point, green is still dominant and to the right of the point, red.  

Through purification of the grey, the green-red and vi0let-yellow scales of movement are bent.  But if I let the purity of the grey complete (unify) itself in the point, the two scales will inevitably be transformed into diagonals.  This brings us to the colour ethos, the colour circle.

The spectral colour circle is a rainbow, gathered in and crushed.  The arrow is gone, we no longer say "that way" but everywhere, which includes "over there".  Every higher organism is a synthesis of differences.

In summing up I can say this about the green-red pair:
Each colour calls forth the other in the eye.
Between the two colours stands grey.

Something has been made visible which could not have been perceived without the effort to make it visible.  Yes, you might see something, but you would have no exact knowledge of it.  But here we are entering the realm of art; here we must be very clear about the aim of "making-visible".    Are we merely noting things seen in order to remember them or are we also trying to reveal what is not visible?  Once we know and feel this distinction, we have come to the fundamental point of artistic creation.


Wood bird, lamp     The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #31

Blue reflections on metal lamp pole     The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #32

Picture hanger, corner    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #33

Cat box, holes, metal shelf    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #34

Entrance to medical building    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #35

Points of light on wall    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #36

Lamp shadow, oval mirror, red flower    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #37

Coat hangers, pole    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #38

Cloths lines, snow    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #39

Cloths lines, snow, tree    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #40

Cloths lines against sky    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #41

Windshield wipers, snow    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #42

Raspberry plants-lines, snow   The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #43

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I completed this project and announced it's availability on my Welcome Page August 4, 2014, just one month after having completed The Creative Process project.  Two days later I decided to add this Epilogue.  I feel content with the imagery and the visual flow or sequence of the images for this project which was completed in a very short time; and I feel ready to move on to a new project that will almost for sure be inspired by the great Swiss German artists Paul Klee.

As I was working on this project I became attracted to a book recommended by Amazon.com about Paul Klee's travels through Tunisia in 1914.  I had not thought much  about Klee's work for a long time, though he is without question one of my most favorite artists.  I purchased the Tunisia book, wondering if Klee had been influenced by Islamic Art during his travels, as I had been during my travels though Turkey in 2011.  

Then I bought another book on Klee, the Temporis series  book which I have taken quotes from for the The Grey Point section immediately above.  As I became excited by my reunion with Klee's work ideas started flooding my mind about how I might create an entire project inspired by Paul Klee, his work, his life.  Perhaps it might be something like the multi-chaptered Still Life project, which had been inspired by the great Italian painter, Morandi.  I feel excited about the prospects of this new project, and I already have ideas in mind about how I might proceed.  First I will spend time studying Klee's work again and reading all I can in preparation for the probable project.


Thankfully, there has been a consistent pattern in the last few years of one project generating ideas for the next new project.  Unlike the past, when I was teaching photography full time and regularly exhibiting my work in galleries and museums, I have lately been devoting all my creative energies to my photography website TheDepartingLandscape.blogspot.com  

In the past, I'd work two years on a project and then exhibit the project in galleries in Milwaukee and Chicago.  After the exhibitions had passed I would often experience a let down --something like a postpartum depression.  I would feel unsatisfied by the whole ordeal and I'd struggle getting myself back to work on the next new project, often feeling anxious about not knowing what idea or subject to pursue next.  Now that I am retired and have stopped exhibiting and instead devoting all my work to my website, there has been a relatively smooth transition from one project to the next and a feeling of deep excitement to see where my creative process would be taking me next.    

Even when I was exhibiting in galleries I eventually came to the realization that no matter what my point of departure was, getting out and working, making photographs, was all that was really important and necessary.  The creative process led the way for me once I started working, even if I'd have to change or adjust the original direction of the project a little to get in alignment with what I really needed to be doing.


After I retired from teaching and my wife and I moved from Milwaukee to NY State in 2008, my son encouraged me to create a website or blog for my work.  Since its inception in November, 2010 TheDepartingLandscape.blogspot.com has had a liberating affect on me and my creative process.  I feel free to try out ideas and not feel I'm on a timeline that must be met.  I work with urgency, but I may spend over a year or two years on a project, or only a few months, and that feels OK because I am working in alignment with my creative process.  I work though ideas until I feel satisfied I've reached completion on a project without feeling burdened by having to exhibit my work.  In fact, my photography website has experienced over 1500 visits each month for the past two years now, and this gives me the sense of an audience.  I have also received emails by a few admirers I have never met before which has been quite gratifying.         


This project and the one before it, The Creative Process, have been relatively brief in duration time from beginning to end.  I have a feeling that the forthcoming Klee-inspired project may be a much larger project.

I have of course made new images for this project, but I have also included and mixed into the new work photographs made earlier, and used in other past projects.  I really like the idea of re-contextualizing older images, putting them amongst new works and in different conceptual project frameworks.  It seems to be an important aspect of my creative process, a form of contemplation of the image; it allows me to see how an image can mean in  different ways when placed in different visual and conceptual contexts. 


I continue to be thrilled by the intuitive, autonomous self-will of my creative process, and the synchronistic experiences associated with each of my projects.  Synchronistic experiences  are, I believe, a form of communication--and often a means of affirmation--from that deeper place of the heart within myself.  For example, in this project there was my early morning twilight experience (see above, the section titled Twilight).  When I made the three images in my bedroom (see above images #1, #2, #3 ) the idea of the point of origin and the circle hadn't yet come into my awareness in relation to this project . . . and yet each of the three images contain the "point/circle" motif.   In the first two images it is manifested in the circular form of the top part of the bed post; in image #3 (see below) it is present within the blue reflection of the bedroom window in the vase; in the blue shape there is a dark form resembling the top of the bed post which is a reflection of myself taking the photograph.

Bedroom vase, blue reflection    The Space Between Color and Black&White  Image #3   


One of my favorite photographs in this project is image #4 (see below).  I took this picture in a basement bedroom while my wife and I were visiting our daughter, her 'significant other' and our one-year-old grandson in Milwaukee.  I love the marks on the grey wall and the way they are highlighted by an atmospheric blue light.  It seems to me the marks have the character of a Paul Klee drawing, which I only realized later, after I made the image and after I had began studying Klee's work again after so many years.  

There is an other-worldly, infinitely deep spacial quality within the wall's grey surface tinged with blue light coming perhaps from within the wall (but more probably from a window in the room behind me).  There is a hint of The Void in this union of surface and light, grey and blue.

The curve of a backscratcher, hanging off the edge of the chest of drawers on the left, echos the diagonal and slightly curving line etched into the surface of the wall.  As in much of Klee's work, I can sense a child-like quality to the "wall drawing" and yet at the same time there is a slightly sinister or threatening quality in the markings as well.  Also, in the lower right corner there is a soft gouge in the surface, perhaps a finger imprint, that is suggestive of a sad, lonely teardrop.  And finally, there is a hat-like figure etched into the wall pointing toward the teardrop.  I mention the hat in part because of the next image I want to comment on . . .  

  Grey wall drawing with blue light reflections     The Space Between Color and Black&White     Image #4


Another important photograph for me in the project is the image of the gardener's hat laying on a car seat (#29, see below).  It is probably the first photograph I made for this project, though it was made on an impulse before I actually conceived the project.  I liked the way the tones of the hat matched the grey tones of the car seat, and the way this essentially grey photograph nonetheless contained some rich colors which can be seen lurking in the shadows of the upper left corner of the image.  The source of the blue and red colors were two food shopping bags thrown onto the floor of the car next to the back seat.  For this project I darkened the blue and red colors so that they were only atmospherically present in the image.  In the original version of the image the two colors dominated the photograph which was otherwise essentially grey in tonality as you see it here. 

I especially enjoy associating this image with the section subtitle heading  The Point : The Line : The Circle : The Void.  For me, the hat image is a visual embodiment of the idea, stated in the text: "From the Point comes . . . the circle--with the Point of Origin at its center."

Gardner's hat, car seat, red & blue bags    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #29


The theme of The Point, The Line, The Circle and The Void is addressed frequently and in many ways in this project, both in text and image.  But the line is a little more difficult to isolate and pay special notice of, I think.  In the image below (#17  Tire swing)  we have the circle being divided by a vertical line, and in the background there are layers upon layers of horizontal banded spaces progressively moving back into the infinite, hazy luminous void of a landscape dissolving into light.  The progression of horizon bands of space begins in the foreground with the dark tree limbs hanging down over the tire swing, and the shadow area below.  The luminous green foliage seems to be gently, perhaps lovingly reaching down to touch the tires wing.  

There is a progression, then, from dark to light and foreground to the background.  But the circle centered within the square formatted image, is divided vertically by the rope that hands down from the tree limbs and nearly touches the shadowy earth below, and by the darker horizontal band of wooded area in the background.  The vertical and horizontal intersect in the center of the circle implying the invisible point at which they meet.  

This is a highly archetypal image that unites vertical and horizon spaces at its center, the point of origin extending via the line to the circle and out into what we know to be the created world.  Memories of childhood play are evoked by this image:  I used to swing our son Shaun lovingly in a tire swing -like this one- when we lived in Atlanta, Ga. back in 1973-75.    

Tire swing    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #17


The last image I wanted to comment on (image #36, see below) was originally made for an earlier project (Still Life, Walkabout Part II, Journey to Memphis).   It is another example of a vertical line image, though at first there is probably recognition only of the stark black and white division of tone within the square format.  Then we see that the vertical line of white dots in the black space on the right is being mirrored by a vertical black line of dots in the white space on the left.  As we begin to look more carefully (you can click on the image to enlarge it) we become aware of a softer, warmer color in the dark space.  Some gentle highlights on the wall become noticeable; they invoke a ghost-like presence which perhaps is lovingly embracing the vertical line of repeating points of white light.

As I was re-reading the text excerpts included above I was surprised to note how two of the texts related quite directly to this image.  I have copied those two excerpts from above and included them here again so they can be seen in the immediate context of the image:  

Points of light on wall    The Space Between Color and Black&White    Image #36

Creation is renewed in every moment.  Time is no more than the repetition of the instant like the line which is formed by the repetition of the spatial point.  During this point in time the whole world returns to the Origin through the movement of contraction and is recreated through expansion like the two phases of breathing.  At every moment there is a fresh creation and the link between the Creator and His creation is incessantly renewed.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr,  Knowledge and the Sacred 

There is great attainment to be found in this space between the breaths. . . .  In fact, the 'point at the beginning and the end' can also be the pause between two thoughts, two emotions, two physical movements, two states of mind.  It can refer to an interstice that appears within any dichotomous activity.   Any of these spaces . . .  can serve as an entry point into the vast realm of Consciousness."   Swami Shantananda,  The Splendor of Recognition, Sutra 18  

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I invite you to watch for my next new photography project which I believe will have been inspired in some way by the work and the life of Paul Klee.  I will announce it's arrival into my website in the Latest Additions section at the top of the Welcome Page.   Thanks for visiting The Space Between Color and Black&White.   

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This project was announced on the Welcome Page 
of my photography website 
on August 4, 2014
The Epilogue was added August 5, 6, 7, 2014

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.