• Peel back the layers
    Of time and space
    To find the precious seed

    In a moment it is gone
    To another place
    Of form or need.

    Whistling through
    The heavens
    It settles from
    On a nearby star
    Then thankfully on us—
    The keepers of the light.

    To freeze each form
    Or refuse the next
    Will lead to suffering
    And stifle every joy.
          "All Is Suffering" by Timothy McCoy

    "Even a broken eggshell is composed of forms of life of delicate perfection and these in turn consist of countless atoms, each elaborately composed about a central focus, which is itself only a form in force."
          By Christmas Humphreys
    Life Is Suffering
  • The lotus lives
    In three worlds,
    Feet in the muck
    Body in murky water
    Proud head in the air.

    The moon demands
    My going-down—
    Down to my true home
    In the thick, rich mud.

    There I sleep
    Until the morning sun
    Lights my desire
    To bloom.

    At rebirth
    To my delight
    My petals are dirt-free.
    So I will live
    For a day
    In the glow
    Of the great star
    That travels over us

    Of all the forms
    I favor none,
    Not even the flower.
    In living so
    I never truly die.
           "The Middle Way" by Timothy McCoy

    The Buddha said: Birth is suffering, death is suffering.

    The cause of suffering is ignorance of the nature of life and resistance to its flow. Ignorance results from the illusion of separateness, which is the failure to recognize the unity of all things and leads to the Eastern philosophical heresy of dualism.

    Suffering is neither good nor bad (a dualism), but just exists. Fortunately, suffering can be lessened by following the "middle way" between the pairs of opposites. The recognition of beauty requires the recognition of ugliness. Put another way, all extremes lead to their opposites. The "middle way" strives for balance between two poles. The opposite of suffering is not happiness (a static condition), but the joy of living as a ceaseless process of change.
    The Middle Way
  • Walk on! Walk on!
    Through a garden of delights

    The journey calls
    for constant choice.

    Pick each fruit
    And sample well
    The tempting thoughts
    They bring, and dwell.

    A thorn can rip
    The tender flesh
    A snake can
    Meanly bite,

    And through it all
    We always know
    That life is worth the strife.
    As we Walk On
    Through paradise.
         "Walk On!" by Timothy McCoy

    Walk on. Life is change and never-ending movement. Life moves on; and we, flames of the light in a prison of our own design, must move on or be frozen in place. You cannot truly possess anything; rather, you may be possessed by things. The journey is calling, and it is better to begin walking than to contemplate the crossroad options. Life is a river that continuously flows; jump in and enjoy the ride, rather than cling to the bank. "Life is a bridge. Pass over it, but build no house upon it."
          Inspired by Christmas Humphreys
    The future lies unmoulded in my hands.
    A path winds out before.
    There is no backward way. Behind me stands
    A closed door.
        By Christmas Humphreys
    Walk On!
  • The naked earth in the neon lights
    I am lost in the porn of its sights
    It's not only me alone, who is lost
    The sky is lost in the unseen heights!

    The transparent blue is opaque and black
    My eyes, my squinted eyes, looking for a crack
    I want to have the last glimpse of the moon,
    How to bid farewell to the night, stars off-track!
          From "Neon Lights" by Akhtar Jawad
    Neon Night (Batteries not Included)
  • To me, photography is about light. This often involves available light that defines the form of subject. However, I emphasize the light that emanates from within the subject. This represents the inner light of self-knowledge—a response to the invocation, "Know thyself."

    In this image, a plant embraces the light with multiple arms, which evokes the Hindu deities. Vishnu, "the preserver," is presented in the Rig Veda as a manifestation of light or even a solar deity. His multiple arms represent a group of symbols manifesting multiple powers which save mankind from harm.
    Embracing the Light
  • Here we go round the prickly pear
    Prickly pear, prickly pear
    Here we go round the prickly pear
    At five o'clock in the morning.
          From "The Hollow Men" by T. S. Eliot

    Come on in,
    The water's fine.
    The whole crowd is here,
    Nothing to fear.

    Just settle down,
    We sleep on down.
    When no one's around,
    We'll paint the town.
          By Timothy McCoy
    Come on In
  • Isn't it rich, are we a pair
    Me here at last on the ground
    You in mid-air

    Isn't it bliss, don't you approve
    One who keeps tearing around
    One who can't move
    Where are the clowns
    Send in the clowns

    Isn't it rich, isn't it queer
    Losing my timing this late
    In my career
    And where are the clowns
    Quick send in the clowns
    Don't bother, they're here
         "Send in the Clowns" written by Stephen Sondheim

    Send in the Clowns
  • Out of the night that covers me,
    Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
    I thank whatever gods may be 
    For my unconquerable soul.

    In the fell clutch of circumstance
    I have not winced nor cried aloud.
    Under the bludgeoning of chance
    My head is bloody, but unbowed.

    Beyond this place of wrath and tears
    Looms but the Horror of the shade,
    And yet the menace of the years
    Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.

    It matters not how strait the gate,
    How charged with punishments the scroll.
    I am the master of my fate:
    I am the captain of my soul.
          "Invictus" by William Ernest Henley

    The above image is inspired by Frederick Sommer's photograph entitled "Chicken." Considered avant-garde and very controversial in the 1940's, it depicts a dead chicken embryo. My image uses abstract color to enhance the emotional impact. I used plants as a stand-in for animals, which in turn represent humans. Along with his image "Coyotes," depicting rotting coyote carcasses in the desert, the round of birth and death is on display.

    I was fortunate to attend a workshop give by Sommer in San Antonio, TX in 1980. Listening to him recount his struggles in the art world and watching him work in the darkroom was a life-changing experience, particularly his explanation of the image, “Coyotes.” Their decaying carcasses lying in the desert was more meaningful to him than “street” photography of their lives in the pack. Critics at the time described his images as sick and perverted. Later I realized that I preferred ruins, plants, and animals as emblematic of human life.
    Bloodied But Unbowed
  • Is that rain?
    No, just a rainbow
    But only in our soul.
    Don't touch, there could be pain.

    All the little pointy fellows
    Live among the hues.
    Don't mind a little yellow
    As long as it's mellow.

    Don't mind a little blue,
    But can't stand the blues.

    Don't need to think
    With plenty of pink.
    We could use a drink.

    Don't want to be mean
    Even in a dream,
    But we don't like green.

    Our favorite color is red.
    It serves as a warning
    That we are mouning in the morning,
    If we lose our color,
    We are dead.
           By Timothy McCoy
    Look, But Don't Touch
  • Abstinence sows sand all over
    The ruddy limbs and flaming hair
    But Desire gratified
    Plants fruits and beauty there.
         By William Blake
    Forbidden Fruit
  • "The word 'ivory' rang in the air, was whispered, was sighed. You would think they were praying to it. .... And outside, the silent wilderness surrounding the cleared speck on the earth struck me as something great and invincible, like truth or evil, waiting patiently for the passing away of this fantastic invasion."
          From The Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad

    In this journey up the Congo into the "heart of darkness," Kurtz seeks ivory. In this image, it is the delicate but invincible orchid that displaces the god of ivory.

    "Spring comes and the grass grows all by itself." 
    Light in the Heart of Darkness
  • To travel beyond the edge of space
    view the cosmos in all its grace 
    would be easier in comparison
    to viewing within the self

    countless stars in galaxies
    some too dim to easily see
    can be know before the mind
    reveals its secrets in the light

    seeking secrets best concealed 
    if sanity will be retained
    when the phantoms gather round
    becoming solid in the mind

    totality is ignored
    the wise struck down to fools
    heavens shrunk to one hell
    in the maelstrom of the mind.
           From "Maelstrom of the Mind" by Sean Green
    Maelstrom of the Mind
  • Gautama Buddha: Truly all aggregates are subject to change.

    The ever-changing patterns seen through a kaleidoscope are an evocation of the philosophical implication of quantum mechanics and the principles of Buddhism. A simple shake of the device reveals a new universe. Elements that seem distinctly evident are revealed to have no independent existence of their own.
    Kaleidoscopic Space
  • "As God is my witness, and God is my witness, the Yankees aren't going to lick me. I'm going to live through this, and when it's over, I'm never going to be hungry again No, nor any of my folks. If I have to steal or kill—as God is my witness, I'm never going to be hungry again." Gone with the Wind, by Martha Mitchell
    Frankly Scarlett, I Don't Give a Damn
  • In Stephen Cranes's Red Badge of Courage, Henry Fleming flees from the field of battle and is overcome with shame. A wound (red badge of courage) would sooth his shame and hide his cowardice. This is achieved accidentally by a blow to his head from a retreating soldier. With his badge in place, he returns to the battle with his past well-hidden.

    The story is ridden with color imagery that illustrates the human condition. In my image, all the soldiers wear their hyper-red-stained badges.
    Red Badge of Courage
  • Guestlist of Madame Guillotine: King Louis XVI, Queen Marie Antoinette, Georges-Jacques Danton, Maxmillian Robespierre, Charlotte Corday, Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier (father of modern chemistry), and Cardinals
    Reign of Terror
  • Well, you wonder why I always dress in black,
    Why you never see bright colors on my back,
    I wear the black for the poor and the beaten down,
    Livin' in the hopeless, hungry side of town,
    I wear it for the sick and lonely old,

        From "Man in Black," by Johnny Cash
    I Wear Pink for the Lonely
  • I think that, next to your sweet eyes,
    and pleasant books, and starry skies,
    I love the world of flowers;
    Less for their beauty of a day,
    Than for the tender things they say.
          From "Flower-Life" by Henry Timrod 
    The Tender Things They Say
  • It may be matter for a smile—
    And I laugh secretly the while
    I speak the fancy out—
    But that they love, and that they woo,
    And that they often marry too,
          From "Flower-Life" by Henry Timrod
    They Often Marry Too
  • In Xanadu did a tiny seed
    A stately little house decree.
    The walls should be so fine
    That it can hang from a vine.
    It should be red, it said.

    A sun-drenched home,
    Not a pleasure dome.
    Deep in the forest, dread.
          By Timothy McCoy
    Deep in the Forest
  • Zenrin poem:

    In a landscape of spring there is neither high nor low;
    The flowering branches grow naturally, some long, some short.
    First Light
  • The truth is so clear
    With focus so near, 
    With whispers ear-to-ear.
    But in the secret garden,
    The distant ones wait for pardon.

    The plot is hidden
    And with strife so ridden,
    With color so dear
    With secrets so near
    And so much to fear.
           By Timothy McCoy
    Garden of Secrets
  • Zenrin poem:

    Like a sword that cuts, but cannot cut itself
    Like an eye that sees, but cannot see itself

    The illusion of the split mind comes from the mind's attempt to be itself and the idea of itself (ego) from a fatal confusion of fact with symbol.
             From The Way of Zen by Alan Watts
    Split Mind
  • Red is deep anger that never comes out
    Red is believing, and then having doubt.
    Red reeks of revenge, of suffering and hate.
    Red is being thirsty and having to wait.

    Red in a painting, makes one hot and confused,
    It's the anger of crying when you feel you've been used
    Red is that voice deep in your head,
    It could keep you back, but pushes ahead.
          From "Color Me Red" by Starr Williams

    Tears are clear inside the brain
    But a fountain is lying low
    Just waiting for a blow
    To loosen the pain.

    Blood-red tears hide in the tide
    A flood of them wait below.
    Ever so slow,
    Ever so fast,
    With roots in the past.
           By Timothy McCoy
    Blood Red Tears
  • Here is the revelation of a secret, internal life of plants. It is expressed with totally imagined colors that display their inner-most feelings and interactions with their peers. There is a parallel jungle in the lives of humans.
    My Life in Color
  • "All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way."
         Anna Karenina, by Leo Tolstoy
    Each Unhappy in Its Own Way
  • "The only barrier which holds us from becoming what we are is self. When the temporary aggregate of passions, fears, prejudices, hopes, and personal desires has died, then right and wrong, and all other pairs of opposites belonging to the self, will also die. This is like a fire that dies for lack of fuel."
         From Studies in the Middle Way, by Christmas Humphreys

    "There is neither good nor ill but thinking makes it so."
         From William Shakespeare
    Kindly, Forgiving Pain
  • In Flanders fields the poppies blow
    Between the crosses, row on row,
    That mark our place; and in the sky
    The larks, still bravely singing, fly
    Scarce heard amid the guns below.

    We are the Dead. Short days ago 
    We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow
    Loved and were loved, and now we lie
    In Flanders fields.
           By John McCrae
    In Flanders Fields
  • The Secret of the Golden Flower, an ancient Taoist text, is essentially a practical guide for the integration of the personality. The "Golden Flower" is The Light Within. It is a mandala symbol which contains a magic circle. Ancient Chinese thought was based on the idea that the cosmos —and man—obey the same law. Man is only a microcosm and is not separated from the world by any barrier.
    Secret of the Golden Flower
  • Candles in the window
    Flashin' through the night
    In a room upstairs is a woman
    In my mind all dressed in white
         From "Dressed in White," by Malcolm Holcombe

    Dressed in White Forever
  • To see the world in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wildflower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    An Eternity in an hour.
            By William Blake
    Midsummer Snow
  • When the stars threw down their spears
    And water'd heaven with their tears,
    Did he smile on his work to see?
    Did he who made the lamb make thee?
          From "The Tyger," by William Blake
    Turning the Light Around
  • To see a World in a Grain of Sand
    And a Heaven in a Wild Flower
    Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand
    And Eternity in an Hour.
         By William Blake

    Illusion in Hindu and Buddhist thought is the failure to realize that our "useful" categorizing and discriminating tendency leads to "pain" and "suffering."

    Modern physics and mystical experience of "oneness" are complementary. Models of sub-atomic physics confirmed that the constituents of matter are interconnected and inter-related. In quantum theory, for example, the existence of matter cannot be found in a definite location but is only a "tendency to exist." This is profoundly influenced by the observer and his methods of observation (e.g., equipment).

    In this image, the seeds and "grains of sand" are abstractions, as discussed above, but are useful for contemplation (and agricultural considerations). Seeds are transforming into the grains of the image. Look Closely! The grains of the background are coalescing into grass or the grass transforming into seed and then into air. In reality, all are composed of photographic grain. These prominent grains (stand-ins for constituents of matter) are not digitally-derived, but are "organic" to the special-purpose film (Agfa 1000) used.
    Gone to Seed
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