Friday, December 30, 2011

Kindred Spirits

“Our lives at times seem a study in contrast... love & hate, birth & death, right & wrong... everything seen in absolutes of black & white. Too often we are not aware that it is the shades of grey that add depth & meaning to the starkness of those extremes.”
-Ansel Adams (whose photos these are)

There's so much I could say about today, but what sums it up for me is that I really feel like I visited with a kindred spirit more than just a source of inspiration when I went out to the museum to see Ansel Adams' works today.  I've always felt inspired by his images, well before photography became something I absolutely loved doing. 

In my somewhat limited exploration of America and its national parks, I've so often found myself standing there alone, trying to process it all.  Standing up in the mountains looking down over Colorado Springs or watching a storm roll in across the Rio Grande at sunset in Los Alamos at the overlook, or being  in the middle of an expanse of prairie grasses and forest in the fall when the entire world takes on the look of a stained glass cathedral.  Those things, to me, are the only true meaning of awesome.   And as someone interested in photography, I've always wanted to be able to somehow capture that, bring it back and share it. I feel like you're really letting people in to who you are when you can show them the things that take your breath away.  There's a certain intimacy to that, and I think that's something Adams did in a way that few others have.
"Some photographers take reality... and impose the domination of their own thought and spirit. Others come before reality more tenderly and a photograph to them is an instrument of love and revelation. "
Ansel Adams 

His photos have made me want to stand where he stood and remember all the amazing places I'd been, alone or with people.  It makes me remember how it feels and smells in the desert after it rains, or when the sun would spill up over the mountains each morning on my break from bread baking.   It reminds me of the Quebradas, so close to my home in Socorro at the time,  but it took someone visiting from IL for me to make the trek.  And I got to have that first person moment where you're standing in the desert in a windswept canyon wanting to climb until you can't climb any longer.  Where you feel small in the best way, turning a corner and being face to face with ancient stone and sun, and being able to have that moment with someone you care very much for.  Knowing they're feeling that same amazing sense of awe.

His photos make me want to keep having those adventures, keep sharing those moments. Keep writing, keep climbing...

“No matter how sophisticated you may be, a large granite mountain cannot be denied - it speaks in silence to the very core of your being”

And the more I dug into his words and thought about the things that I've felt, the more personal it became to me, and I found myself being even more glad that I wasn't there alone.  I think we all really want is to share the things we love with the people we love.  And today walking around that place, I kept finding out more about the man AND his work, the more I related.  And the more I fell in love with the detail and depth and the clarity of the work I'd never seen that clearly before, the happier I was that I could share that feeling all over again.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”

Words have been unclear lately...and in absence of any more words to really say how I felt about sharing this experience with someone close to me and digging deeper afterwards, I'm just going to leave it to silence.

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