Fluent Fall 2017 Winter 2018

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Winter: Time To Prepare for Spring BY KERON PSILLAS

Seasons pass, and we enjoy the weather, the changing light, and activities that come with the seasons. But I prefer to look at the seasons in a different manner as well: how our bodies and minds relate to the seasons; in particular, as it is winter, how we resonate with this quiet, darker time. As photographers, we can take advantage of lower, sideways light. If we are lucky, we can find a pastoral, snow-covered scene to photograph at sunrise with golden pinks. Or a hillside dotted with cedars with their dark hearts illuminated for an instant by the setting sun. Our options are endless, really, from macro photography of snowflakes to moody, gritty, city streets with slushy footprints and heads bent down and into the wind. Windows steam easily, giving us marvelous “shooting through” opportunities. The world outside is softened and becomes a geometry puzzle with moving color and vaguely recognizable forms. When we decide to engage the arts it is often because we have seen or heard or felt something that stirred us, that resonated with some part of us. This stirring made us want to investigate further, and then perhaps learn to dance, or play the piano, paint, sculpt, or photograph. That act of investigation—if we are passionate about our art—is limitless. This is the beauty of a life filled with the making of art or the appreciation of art in all its forms. There are no limits to what we can discover. And if there are no limits to what we can

discover, there are no limits to what we can create! My students say to me from time to time that they are bored or blocked or uncertain of what to photograph. I tell them not to photograph. If they have nothing to say, then their photos will be mute as well! I encourage them instead to fill their life with curiosity, with investigation. I encourage them to inhale beauty. To eat beauty. To devour beauty! Soon, this regular practice leads to inspiration, and inspiration can lead to renewed passion and renewed vigor in your photographic voice. During this time of not photographing, we are feeding ourselves with the vitamins and nutrients that enable us to make beauty. My friend and legendary photographer Jay Maisel says, “If you want to be a more interesting photographer, be a more interesting person!” That is a typical, direct statement from Jay, the essence of a great New Yorker. We can go a little deeper and find a quote from Ernst Haas, father of color photography. Ernst said. “If beauty is not within us, how will we ever see it?” How does all of this relate to winter? Winter is the time to be quiet, to be still. But this does not mean to be inactive. It is the time to turn inward. It is the best time to feed our roots so that when we feel the stirring of inspiration, we have the ability to sustain and deepen our commitment to creating our work. During the long, dark hours of winter we can feed ourselves. We can nourish and strengthen our minds and hearts u

Right: With thanks to the Scottish romantic painter, Henry Raeburn, I could envision and create the lush backdrop for the scene at the Buchaille Etive. I was seeking a landscape that spoke of timelessness, and perhaps loneliness with a wild blustery edge. 4 | fluent

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