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Contemplative Photography #4

Contemplative Photography #4

My soul was long-overdue for another contemplative photography exercise. I try to discipline myself to reflect for only 10 minutes, which is rarely long enough but motivates me to focus on the image and not let my mind wander too far afield. This time, I brought a little of my experience on site when I received this photography into my reflections. I hope that perhaps you can yet benefit from imagining the tactile sensations that accompanied this visual experience.

Wurm’s Head is an interesting formation that is only accessible for a few hours a day when the tide is out. This scene is flooded and obscured every day. It is a difficult walk to make it from the mainland to the islands.

Wurm's Head (Gower, South Wales)

Wurm’s Head (Gower, South Wales)

I see > an anchor old and worn, weathered, experienced, abandoned yet frequently encountered by Wurm’s Head adventurers, the sometime island at the horizon, currently accessible with a daunting knife-life peak, millions–perhaps billions–of discarded shells, homes that are now tread upon, ground down to serve as a highway to a place only occasionally available, a big metal loop where the anchor was once attached to something larger than itself–a receptacle perhaps now vacant

I feel > a drab sky and little hope, Wurm’s Head is yet far away, the anchor invites me to stay right here with its roughness, rust, and barnacles; the path is not straight or smooth; shall I just sit by the water’s edge and go no farther?

I think > where am I anchored? is it a place I can stay, a place I should stay? is it for my own good, or a distraction from yet more incredible views, experience, and blessing? am I an anchor for others? a tool of protection and stability, or an abrasive distraction, interrupting a path that is already hard? have I landed too far from the water’s edge where I belong?

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2013 in Prayer

 

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Contemplative Photography #3

Contemplative Photography #3

My continuing journey to enter into the depths of myself through the windows of photography.

Ogmore Beach

Ogmore Beach

I see > flags, warnings, markers, a lifeguard rescue board at the ready standing in shallow water that hardly poses a threat; the warnings and rescue share colors, linked together; flags only in the flatland–no danger on the hills beyond? houses afar off–are they the rescuers, or the rescued, or only just observers? A reflection, barely mimicking the original except in color

I feel > Am I in danger? I can see the flags, does their warning apply to me? They seem limiting, so narrow the space between them. Is that the place of greater safety or of harm? Where is the rescuer, surely the board of itself cannot save. The warning is so prominent, dominating the coast; can I enjoy the tranquility despite this ever-present signpost? How many tragedies have occurred here? Many? Any? Are the flags proactive or reactive as they call attention to the need for caution?

I think > What would prompt me to bother entering into the area of warning?–it seems I can see fine from here. Is there something better over there? Am I safer here, or actually at greater risk, farther from the rescue board? I don’t feel fearful or threatened, and perhaps I don’t need to be. Only aware that danger and serenity often inhabit the same spaces.

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I welcome you to share your own reflections on this photograph in the comments below, and to peruse my other contemplative pieces and writings.

Contemplative Photography #1

Contemplative Photography #2

 
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Posted by on July 26, 2013 in Prayer

 

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Contemplative Photography #2

Contemplative Photography #2

This is my second occasion of taking 10 minutes just to reflect on a photograph, to consider its content, themes, and message…as suggested by Howard Zehr in The Little Book of Contemplative Photography. (You may wish to click on the photo below to enlarge it in a second window so that you can see more of the detail.)

Dunraven Coastline

Dunraven Coastline

I see > a rocky wasteland hemmed in by sea and cliffs, fortress-like walls, unscaleable; a narrow strip of safety but not of comfort–temporary; 2 people, one in white, miniscule and so far ahead walking in a place of smoothness; a helicopter just entering in–a heavenly observer; beyond, another coast which I could never reach by walking; coastal rocks in lines set like alligator teeth in a protected car park–be careful not to move the wrong way over them!

I feel > if the tide came in, could I be rescued? Would the people turn back? Would the helicopter descend? How much time have I got? Could I run safely over the rocky wasteland and find community and companionship? Across the ocean, I can see for miles and there is nothing; towards the cliffs, I can’t see beyond and there is nothing. Little oases of green along the way–taunting refreshment, discouraged by saltiness.

I think: there is no clear destination for this journey, just a day-to-day survival and wondering. In these circumstances, dreams are hard to come by, but limitations are apparent and help is uncertain. Do I actually want to be down there? One step forward and I will be. But I can’t imagine that the perspective is any better from there, but somehow I know that it is.

These thoughts remind me of a previous blog post: In the Midst.

See also my other posts on contemplative photography.

 
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Posted by on July 20, 2013 in Life, Prayer

 

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