These photographs are meditations on the constant and inevitable change in nature. Our bodies and our thoughts change from the moment of birth to death and beyond. According to Eastern philosophy, resistance to the transformation leads to suffering. Here, the object of contemplation is the flow of water.
The student learns by daily increment
The Way is gained by daily loss,
Loss upon loss until
At last comes rest.
By letting go, all gets done
The world is won by those who let it go
But when you try and try
The world is then beyond the winning.
Tao Te Ching #48 tr. by R. B. Blakney
I have have been profoundly influenced by Alan Watts, Christmas Humphries, and the principles found in the Tao Te Ching. The Tao is simply what happens by itself and is metaphorically illustrated by the flow of water—the Watercourse Way. The Tao is the course, flow, and drift of nature. The stream does not merely follow gravity downstream. It “sweats” from its streams, swamps and oceans as it exhales into mist and clouds. It also inhales and returns as dew and rain. All this in perfect balance, without needing control.
Water adapts and changes according to where it is placed. Poured into a bowl (or a lake) , it takes the shape of a bowl (or an ocean) but doesn’t change its basic nature.
With a wall all around
A clay bowl is moulded
But the use of the bowl
Will depend on the part
Of the bowl that is void.
Tao Te Ching #11 tr. by R. B. Blakney
The irresistible power of the Watercourse Way is seen in the paradox of weakness overcoming strength.
Nothing is weaker than water
But when it attacks something hard
Nothing withstands it
And nothing will alter its way.
Tao Te Ching #78 tr. by R. B. Blakney
The wise man plunges into the stream with glee, abandoning the quest toward certainty for a ride on the River of Becoming.
The Watercourse Way has organic patterns which are given names, but are ever-changing. These include creeks, raging rivers, waterfalls, swamps, waves, ice, crystalline deposits, rain falling from clouds, and ocean depths.
In the past, I worked predominately with 8 x 10 negatives to produce palladium, albumen, silver gelatin, and photogravure images. My vision and flexibility have been extended in this portfolio with medium format digital exposures and inkjet final images up to 32 x 40 inches.