I am writing this post for the ‘Be Inspired by the Neighbors’ exercise. Yesterday I read a post by Marilyn Armstrong on her blog Serendipity. The blog poat had a bunch of photos posted with explanation. Marilyn had created this blog post to take part in Cee’s Which Way Photo Challenge: 2015 Week #2. The title of the blog post was: FOLLOWING THE BIRDS – CEE’S WHICH WAY PHOTO CHALLENGE. Marilyn had posted a bunch of photos of wild birds swimming on water bodies.
My comment to Marilyn was: ‘Excellent post. The photos look fantastic. Were they all taken on the same day? Which camera did you use? A thing of beauty is a joy forever. Your photos have beauty written all over them. Keep up the good work.’ Marilyn was kind enough to respond quickly: ‘Thank you! They were taken on a bunch of different days over a period of 3 years, though all in the Blackstone Valley. The two signed by my husband were taken on his Panasonic Lumix XZ 60. Mine were all taken on Olympus Pen PM-2 or an Olympus Pen EP3. Some are quite recent, just last month. Others date back to spring 2012, though many were taken at the same locations in different months and years.’
To begin with, I like photography. For a couple of years I even had a DSLR camera and used to take a lot of snaps. But I found the experience of using a DSLR camera to be cumbersome and I am very lazy as well. So I have become a dormant photographer or photographer in hibernation these days! Nevertheless, I admire good photography and that’s the reason in addition to liking Marilyn’s post, I also left a compliment on her blog.
They say, ‘a picture is worth a thousand words.’ But these seven words have survived hundreds of years, a period over which the picture which inspired these words was lost for eternity. Human words are too weak an instrument to describe something that human mind enjoys through the eyes. However, this exercise is about writing and therefore I embark (despite my limited command over English) on the herculean task of describing Marilyn’s photos. I have subscribed to Marilyn’s blog for the past couple of months but I do not know whether she is a professional photographer or an amateur photographer or just a casual photographer.
These photos of birds swimming in water bodies without any care in the world is an awesome sight even at a casual glance. And that’s the reason I was drawn to this post. These bunch of photos captured the grace of God’s creation in its pristine form. Though these are still photographs they ooze with life. I am not sure whom to praise for the joy/ ecstasy that I attained in seeing these beautiful photographs: should I praise Marilyn’s keen sense of timing and her skill? Should I praise those birds who were just following their natural instincts? Should I praise some unknown cosmic power that made Marilyn’s skill, a piece of technology (camera) and a bunch of nature’s beautiful creations cross each other’s’ path? Or should I praise the creators of the WordPress platform that enables digital imprints of such serendipitous acts to be enjoyed by people who are live in remote corners of this globe?
Most people will think of motion pictures (videos) as a technological progression to still photography. But still photography, since it is a snapshot at one particular point in time, introduces an element of suspense (what happened next?). Still photography is more like an abstract philosophy open to multiple interpretations. Still photography helps us to achieve a power that God did not bestow upon us: ‘an ability to freeze time. An ability to look at any event is isolation to its preceding or succeeding events.’
Since these snaps were taken by Marilyn and her husband at different points in time over a period of two to three years, they display multiple gradients of multiple factors: different birds, different seasons, may be different water bodies too, different light settings etc. We all find it very difficult to follow any abstract concepts. But while looking at these bunch of photos by Marilyn and her husband, the abstract concept, ‘beauty in nature’s creations’ penetrates deep into our eyes, seeps deep into our hearts and gets sculpted into our minds for eternity. Try however hard, we will lose the battle to dislike these photos.
J. Krishnamurti writing in his book, ‘Meditations’ says: ‘A meditative mind is silent. ….. It is the silence when thought – with all its images, its words and perceptions – has entirely ceased.’ These bunch of photos take us into a meditative state, a state of trance where nothing seems to exist: not you, not Marilyn, not even those birds. The only thing that exists is the beauty of nature.