Monday 28 August 2017

Turning Up

“If you turn up every day, [your creativity] will learn to trust you.
That’s the creative process.”
- Mary Oliver, American Poet

Today is my 71st birthday, so for seventy-one years I’ve been turning up. And bless Mary Oliver for helping me reframe that process as essential to my creativity.

As I have written before in this blog, Mary Oliver is one of my favourite poets. Born in 1935, she has been writing poetry for decades and won the Pulitzer Prize in 1984. Her latest book, Devotions: The Selected Poems of Mary Oliver, is being released on October 10, 2017. I have already ordered it, so, it’s safe to say that I adore Mary Oliver.

I heard her observation about creativity in an interview with the amazing Krista Tippett, host of the weekly On Being podcast. (Sidebar: Krista Tippett’s exploration of spirituality is an ongoing delight. You can sign up for her weekly free newsletter here and subscribe to her podcast here.) In the interview, Ms. Oliver was discussing the nature of creativity. She said (my paraphrase) that the usual way of framing the creative process was to encourage people to trust their creativity, but she flipped that notion: instead of trusting your creativity, you needed to earn the trust of your creativity by turning up every day and actually using it. Once your creativity knows that you’re taking your gifts seriously, then it will reward you with a flow of ideas, energy, and passion. Very nice.

And that’s how I try to approach my photography. Photograph every day. Download the images. Ruthlessly delete. Keep the diamonds. Repeat. And earn the trust of your creativity.

What follows are a few of the photos that didn’t get deleted this week. Enjoy!

Belleville Motor Home

Bloomfield Cable

Bloomfield Wall

Bloomfield Roof

Prince Edward County Trees

Black Creek Patterns

Little Bluff Flag

Herchimer Street Panel

Garbage Near Herchimer Avenue

Puddle Near Herchimer Avenue

Silo Near Bloomfield

Eternal Flame, Parliament Hill, Ottawa

Canadian Museum of History, Hull

National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa

Outdoor Sculpture in the Rain, National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa.
Sorry, I don't know the name of the artist.

National Gallery of Canada. Ottawa

Kate and Tim's Microwave

Monday 21 August 2017

Photography as Poetry

poetry is photography:
the photography of your soul
it begins as an observation captured in a stuttering syntax:
the lens of your soul towards a subject, a metaphor, a line
within you, within the world, within the two
...if poetry should ever be photography – then –
it would be the photography of one’s soul.

- SH, 2011

“Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real.”
- Ansel Adams

Last week, a new Facebook friend gave me a wonderful gift.

“I enjoy the poetry of your camera,” she said.

What beautiful words – and what a beautiful compliment. In seven elegant words, she validated an important source of my photography – saying things with my photos that others might say with their poetry. Radiant things. Hidden things. Difficult things. Magical things. Ordinary things.

I can’t claim that all of my photos are poems, but I can say that I try to find images that go beyond the obvious, the expected, and the first impression.

I thank my new friend for her gift.

The photos that follow were all recorded in the last seven days. I hope that each one has a bit of poetry lurking at the periphery. Enjoy.

Main Street East, Wellington

Tent Chairs, Old Fort Henry, Kingston

Purple Lily in Our Compost Pail

After Bill's Shrimp Feast

In Our Front Yard

Queen Street, Belleville

Belleville Public Library

Old Fort Henry, Kingston

Tree Trimming, Bridge Street East, Belleville

Tomatoes in a Garden Allotment East of Belleville General Hospital

Our Neighbours Abandoned Springs