Thursday, December 27, 2007

Flower Mandalas

Maybe it's Sheryl's influence on me, but lately we've been shooting lot of flowers. This is not to be confused with the practice of "blowing up roses" if you're familiar with the Berkeley Psychic Institute. No, we just photograph them and as far as I know we have no incendiary rose fantasies. I don't always find roses to be the most symmetrical of flowers, nor am I always attracted to symmetry, but lately I am fascinated by plants, the way that they present themselves to the world and all their characteristics. In the meantime a renewed focus on macro photography is coinciding with a renewed interest in extracting truly perverse color from the poor dears in Photoshop. It might be kinder just to shoot them, blow them up, drive a stake through their hearts and dispose of the remains on a moonless night. After all, aren't flowers beautiful and colorful enough already? Of course. But I don't grow flowers, I take pictures of them. I reserve artistic license to turn the image into. . . whatever. I have lots of arguments with myself over this.

Ever notice how much a flower looks like a Mandala? Or vice versa-- repeating patterns growing outward; you might see five pointed stars enclosed by a pentagon in the middle of a five pointed star and so on. Crystalline structures are like that too: the macro representation of the form is an exact scaling up of the microscopic. The mandala is supposed to train your mind to understand the importance of that: of the interconnectedness of all that is.

Sheryl and I both went through a period of fascination with geometric forms. Sheryl is still drawn to images of tree branches. She keeps photographing them: not the whole tree, just the branches but she's rarely, if ever, satisfied with the results. I honestly suspect that it's the shortcomings of the camera, that it fails to capture some very key, yet subtle variations on a theme. I've noticed that people who have difficulty making decisions are often mesmerized by tree branches and they don't know why. It would do them good to lie beneath a tree just staring until they get tired of it. It's therapy, it's a mandala, it teaches the mind that as every branch reaches the sky, every decision reaches just as beautifully and gracefully into the future.

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