My childhood aspirations were to become a priest, a brain surgeon, and a photographer, in that order. Oh, and later, a writer. Actually, I never really aspired to be a photographer because the world in which I grew up – the South Bronx in the 70’s – surviving day to day was the rule and it left no room for me to entertain the notion of artistic self-expression. I never had any inkling that photography was something I could, much less would, have access to later in life.
But fantasize I did. And my fantasy camera was the Minolta X-700. Why? I have no idea. Maybe it’s the way the ‘x-700’ sounded whenever I heard it in my head when I’d peruse the ads for it in the NY Daily News.
How interesting that my first aspirations are the substance of my keenest interests now in my adulthood – spirituality, healing and artistic expression. Writing also would find its way into my consciousness as an avenue of expression, a way of giving vent to my angels and demons, my light and my shadow, my questions and my searchings.
Through photography I would discover stillness through action, meditation through motion, fluidity through function. Photography, like my inner world of profound mystical experience, brings me into contact with the invisible intimacy of living made visible through awareness and awakeness.
Photography has helped introduce me to myself. By objectifying my subjective seeing, I gain perspective into my being-ness, so that, rather than always seeing through a narrow reality-tunnel, an expansive, ever-unfolding matrix of reality appears to my awareness.
The truth is, however, that this ‘reality’ – multi-dimensional, feathery, fluid – is intrinsically grounded and fixed in the sense that it is, it simply is, and therefore, never appears. It’s always there. My seeing (it for what it is and for what it could be) is what ‘appears’. I shift. I change.
Or do I??
I ask this because in this constant interplay of the subjective and the objective there is a constant exchange of function through which the subject becomes the object and the object becomes the subject along infinite lane-changes on the highway of living, being, and seeing, i.e., consciousness.
Let me try to illustrate this graphically. Look at the following photos. What do you see? What you see may or may not be what I see; however, what I experienced when taking these photos I cannot completely convey except that I had the very real sense that I too was being watched!! This is obvious in the photo of the squirrel; not so in the other photos.
Now, what does all this have to do with healing? Well, first it needs to be clear that there is a part of us that is NEVER in need of healing – that essential, eternal part of us that existed before our Earth-life and that will continue after our life on Earth ends. I call it our Spirit, and our life on Earth is only one phase of its expression, journey and growth. From it we derive our power and being. What does get sick is our body and our mind which are the tools of our spirit.
So what photography has helped to heal in me is my ignorance of myself and my blindness to the world around me as a reflection of me. It has invigorated my atrophied sense of everything around me and within me.
Photography is not the sole factor in this healing voyage but it is a factor nonetheless. A later development in my life through my conscious pursuit of it, the foundation of my photographic interest was laid earlier in life through my unfolding spiritual life and awareness. Photography has become a way of expressing my intimate, free-flowing mystical experiences and graduating wakefulness.