Broad Brook Photographs October 14, 2017

Broad Brook

October 14, 2017

The photographs in this project are the most recent addition to what seems to be a continuing, evolving relationship I am having with a beautiful brook in southern Vermont named Broad Brook.  The photographs were made during two one-hour (or less) picture-making sessions on October 14, 2017 while Gloria and I were visiting her sister Phyllis and our brother-in-law Jim.  Their house, which is at the base of a large forested hill, overlooks the brook; and over the past three years, during our visits with Jim and Phyllis, I have photographed the brook with growing interest, intimacy and grace.  

In mid-October the Vermont light has only a few brief windows of opportunity in which it can directly illuminate the stones and water in the brook; thus I photographed early in the morning, as soon as the sun began shining down on a long straight view of the brook as pictured above.  Then in the late afternoon there was a brief time when the sun was skimming beautifully over the water at a quiet place in the brook further downstream where it turns to the left. The light visited for what seemed like only a few brief moments; when the sun went down behind the surrounding mountains, I stopped photographing.  


Our last visit to Vermont was a year ago in mid-September, 2016.  Jim and Phyllis and Gloria and I made the trip to Popolo's in Bellows Falls, Vermont where we celebrated my birthday with their famous, miraculous corn and oat pancakes.  During our visit I had several surprisingly intense picture-making sessions with the brook which resulted in two large, related projects: Broad Brook Photographs 9-10 & 9-11. 2016  and its companion, consisting of symmetrical photographs, entitled: Death : A Meditation in Photographs and Texts.  

There were two other earlier picture-making sessions of note: see the Epilogue to my Field of Vision project of December, 2015; and then in August, 2014 I made photographs of the brook while working on my Angels project: see image #10 in Part 2, Earth Angels and Fallen Angels, and Part 3, Angles: A Personal Story.


The photographs in this project are different, lighter in attitude and quality compared to the photographs I made last year, which in general are more somber or contemplative in mood.  When I photographed last year, in mid-September, the leaves had just begun to fall and the light was more varied in quality and more accessible over greater periods of time.  This year, in mid-October the colorful leaves were plentiful, and falling; they floated on the surface of the water, and collected around the stones like garlands, or lay on top of the stones magically transforming into eyes through which the stones looked out at me as I made their "portraits." 

The low angular light in the late afternoon skimmed sharply on the surface of the gentle rippling water where I was photographing.  The ripples became electrified with the light which not only danced on the water's surface but also refracted downward onto the stones resting silently below, like sleeping animals on the brook's sandy floor.  The movement of the light made the stones under the water appear alive, as if they were breathing. 

I enjoy several of these new images for their spatial ambiguity.  The skimming light would simultaneously illuminate the leaves floating on the surface of the water and the dark presence of things below.  It was as if I could see above and below the water as a united space that was its own Imaginal world.  I strive to make photographs that conjoin inner and outer worlds.  I call such images symbols.  Many of the photographs I am presenting here function for me as symbols.  

I have concluded this collection of images with five symmetrical brook photographs, the last of which serves as a visual Epilogue for the project.  (The source images with which I constructed each of them were made on October 14 as well.)  In their own different ways, the symmetrical images sustain and elaborate upon the themes already mentioned in regards to the "straight" photographs.  Mysterious pools of liquid space and light have spontaneously unveiled themselves through the transformative magic of the four-fold symmetrical image constructions.  They invoke in me what I used to think of as the Creative Unconscious of the natural world.  However, because of my yogic practices and the new perspectives they unveil, I am able to see the world in a much broader context.  That is to say, nothing is "unconscious" about the creative energy of the universe that pervades not only the natural world, but everything in this universe.  Indeed, if anything is unconscious in this world it is man's mind (his or her ego) which lacks the will to consciously acknowledge and embrace the Truth of what "nature" really is, and who or what we human beings truly are I have briefly addressed this issue in the Epilogue that brings the project to an end.


Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.
- Rumi -

When I made the photographs presented here, I was in the thick of writing (and re-writing, and re-writing again) the Epilogue for my Homage to Giacometti project.  I wrote too much for that large multi-chaptered project, and so it came as a wonderful relief to me to get away from my computer and my thinking and get out into the natural world and photograph my friend, the brook, once again.

The photographs came easily, gracefully, without thinking.  I worked under the assumption that I had completed my important work with the brook last year and so I was able to relax while photographing this time;  I paid no attention to the flow of powerful images that was unfolding as I worked.  I simply photographed what I was seeing with a swift but gentle kind of pleasure.  As I photographed I felt closer and closer to the brook;  it was as if I was finally and more fully recognizing a friendship that had always been there between us.

Since I see this new collection of images as a continuation of something that has been forming over several years now, I feel no need to add any more written commentary about the photographs.  I invite you to visit the texts that accompany my other brook projectsThe brook is like an ancient friend who has returned to me once again . . .  and with many gifts, which I am slowly opening as time flows on.  The photographs are my way of reciprocating, and sustaining our silent dialogue.    ~  Welcome to this new collection of Broad Brook photographs.

(Please click on the images for optimum quality viewing.)     



Image # 1      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017   

Image # 2      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 3      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017 

Image #4     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017 

Image # 5      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017 

Image # 6      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 7      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image #8      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 9      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 10      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 11      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017
Image # 12      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 13      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 14      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 15     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 16      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 17      Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 18     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017



Image # 19     Symmetrical Photograph     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 20     Symmetrical Photograph     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 21     Symmetrical Photograph     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017

Image # 22     Symmetrical Photograph     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017




In answer to a question asked of him, the great modern day yogic saint Swami Muktananda told a story from the Yoga Vasishtha in which two seers were having a dialogue with each other.  One asked the other: "What is the greatest wonder of the world?"

The other answered: "The greatest wonder is that God, who is ever-present in all beings, and who is present everywhere, appears to be absent."   (from Satsang with Baba : Questions and answers with Swami Muktananda  Vol Four--a Siddha Yoga publicatio

Image # 23     Symmetrical Photograph, Epilogue     Broad Brook, October 14, 2017
(Tree limb shadow on a large stone in the brook)

This project was posted on my blog's Welcome Page
November 14, 2017  

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