8.14.2008

Sometimes We Grieve, We Ache.


I only wanted the edges of these flowers in the photograph. Or, I only wanted the flowers to be at the edges of the photograph. Something about that blank wall and the wilting flowers only at the edges makes me think of grieving. Or solitude. Or loneliness. Or grappling and questioning and somehow longing too. It's funny, as I've been trying to wrap up the loose strings of my poetry manuscript I'm realizing that these feelings/ thinkings/ questions often inspire me to write. I used to say that my writing helped me to process the difficult questions and also served as a source of thinking. It's often like I'm thinking allowed (or quietly, I suppose as I'm not speaking) through the writing itself.


But photography, printmaking, bookmaking, and the visual side of my creative life isn't often so riddled with heavy heady thoughts. It isn't the space where I grieve. Or grapple. Or question and question without any pressure to answer. Instead, I think it's the space where I can be free of language, in some way. Where I can balance the mind/ body conundrum and perhaps act more instinctually or intuitively in some sense. Perhaps it's just that I'm largely self-taught in my visual artmaking and I've studied poetry more academically. Hmm, maybe that's it!


For years I've tried to bring my writing and my artmaking and my crafting into one big beautiful space. And sometimes it does happen like this project-in-progress and other times, it doesn't. But as I've been reflecting on my recent photographs and also editing my manuscript, I'm realizing that maybe the different mediums are all linked to a different experience/ feeling/ thinking somewhere inside of me. Perhaps the digital photographs don't need to be heady, intellectual, or full of longing because I am certainly not always full of these things! Or maybe it's created collection by collection and, like anything else, it will shift as my needs shift.



Regardless, these flower photos are somehow more evocative of my long relationship with language and creative writing and that space has often been more difficult, more intellectual, and holding more heady weight. And while my usual photos of botanicals and weathered woods and teacups are often more uplifting, optimistic, and less problematic in someways, this flower series seems to fill me with grief. And often that feeling of grief inspires me to write poetry. I'm motivated through that sadness, that longing, that ache, to find words that I know are imperfect and inadequate and problematic because that's how I'm feeling at the time. But these photos seem to go between my two worlds--simple botanicals that are also full of questioning and ache.

And although I'm not actively grieving or aching or longing right now in my life, I know that some of you are. And I know that someplace else in the world people certainly are. And I know that at other times in my life I have been the one grieving and pondering and questioning the more difficult parts. So, today I offer these photos in honor of the aching parts. In honor of the longing parts. In honor of the complicated and problematic and sometimes harrowing parts of life that can also inspire all sorts of creativity, compassion, and deeper health. Today, I offer these photos to honor the grief, the rough edges, and the ache.

8 comments:

  1. I love these Kat.
    You already know my post for today. I finished it last night, then today was led (via a friend's happy link) to gruesome images coming out of Georgia.

    And somehow these three things tie together for me. Realizing separate from ourselves that each person is going through things, whether it be happiness or loss. One was gruesome reality, the other was subtle feeling, and finally the ghosts of what remains.
    Not sure if any of that makes sense as I'm just writing off the cuff.

    To close, I wanted to say, at some point I would love to rent a big old house close to Warrenton and invite friends like you to share this time. To pass out some margaritas, to share some joy. There seems not to be enough in the world so we must forge opportunities to find and share.

    Caught me on a contemplative day ;-)

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  2. As very often lately I'm completely hooked to your pictures and to the paths your thinking takes you. Your posts always shake me in many different directions, and right at this moment I wish I could have more internet time to linger and to catch your breathing through your lines. When my vacation endes I'll have to make sure I spend enough time to treasure all your late posts.

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  3. Interesting post for pondering. thanks

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  4. wonderful flowers... how do you take these photos? what do you use?
    and I can only say it is the same for me: "Instead, I think it's the space where I can be free of language, in some way. Where I can balance the mind/ body conundrum and perhaps act more instinctually or intuitively in some sense."
    you captured the essence here. free of language, intuition. also the joy of transcending the mind.

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  5. cheryl: i love your insights, dear friend! yes, we are aligned even when we least expect it, huh? and YES to the dreamy thought of a house in warrenton full of margaritas and junking ghosts!

    esti: people like you encourage me to continue. thank you for this powerful generous gift.

    paula: yes, just for pondering. sometimes the pondering leads me to the next creative project. sometimes the pondering is just heady!

    roxana: thank you. i shoot with a little canon powershot, an argus 75, a hawkeye brownie, one600 polaroid, and recently a holga. then i poke through photoshop, depending on the image, and this is all trial and error!

    "free of language", yes sometimes that's what i/we might need most. thank you for your thoughts.

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  6. Katrina you astound me. Your heart seems ever opener. I get the privelege of coming in this way through this sharing you do online.

    I love how you are really offering something here. Such an honest, real gift. I read somewhere once that every authentic creation is a gift to the world.

    This applies to your next post too, about experiencing your creative energy. Let us never stop giving in this way.

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  7. Beautiful, evocative photos.

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  8. ambra: thank you, dear woman. i'm so glad you are back online.

    jamie: thanks for visiting. and welcome, fellow printmaker!

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Thank you for your comments, friends. I like to think we are creating a dialogue in this space--building a virtual community.