Saturday, February 21, 2009

The Gift of an Image


Images, like symbols, are mighty powerful things. They have the ability to evoke emotional responses right across the entire spectrum of human feeling.

Bombarded as we are on a daily basis by the multitude of images we see in the blogging world we are exposed to regular delights of beauty.
But I wonder if this over exposure to beauty can make us inured and immune to the beauty in the array of imagery we are presented with each day and in life itself or whether it heightens our sensitivities. I for one don't ever want to become blase about beauty.

I know I grapple with words as I attempt to express my wonder at the essence captured by these talented photographer bloggers and I feel that my hackneyed phrases and terms of appreciation have been dulled and sullied by overuse. But I persist in trying...

I also feel rushed when I open my blog and see, on my Blogs I Follow column, the goodies in store for me to read and view and know that in my eagerness to sample a bit of everything I am not doing each posting justice.

The new tick the box response reaction offered by Mr Blogger is a further means of diminishing our reactions to wonder and our ability to express those feelings in writing.

James Hillman said:

"The images are where the psyche is..
The gift of an image is that it affords a place to watch your soul."

If we want to get to know ourselves that little bit better, to plumb our depths, to wonder, to muse, and to enjoy these images - they deserve more than a cursory glance. They require more than an instant of our time.

I suggest that we allow ourselves a few more moments to savour the images, to let them talk to our feeling system, and to feel the throb of resonance, and to get in touch with our souls.

As Joseph Campbell said:

"The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves."

I don't want to be one of those people.

I want to be one of these:

"Images foster people of wonder rather than conclusions and make for people of wisdom rather than opinion"

Thomas Moore.

The buoy image is by Paul Signac, a French expressionist painter.



  1. You wrote "I for one don't ever want to become blase about beauty."

    Many years ago my parents visited the home of Wade Doak a well known marine photographer and diver and conservationist. In his home there was a window with a door over it that could be opened from the inside. When you opened the door there there before you was a very beautiful stained glass window with the light shining through. Wade Doak said that he put the door on the window so that he wouldn't take the beauty of the window for granted by seeing it constantly every day. - I have always thought that showed a special sort of wisdom and your comment reminded of what my mother told me they saw all those years ago.

  2. Thanks Alden - yours is a lovely anecdote, thanks for adding it. That's what I love about this network of friends - we jar each other's memories and trigger responses to follow up on...

  3. Alden P.S. What did you learn from you wonderful childhood and FOO?

  4. The universe is miracles come we pick up so much what has been put out there by other humans.
    For me I would like some things to be left alone and remain a mystery,our fantasy needs to be challenged and if it is all there already instantly at the push of a button.
    Just this morning i decided not too blog myself for a couple of days ,i will only look at blogs who are in my favorites just too see......

  5. I have noticed that some people post the most beautiful pictures and other things on their sites. While some of us are lucky to post the words on ours. Such is life I guess. With struggle comes learning. Hope your figured out your photosmart. I wonder if I will ever figure any of it out. Maybe I need to get a "Blogging for dummies" book.

    Great post.

    Thank you.

  6. Hello there Mrsupole - makes me think of marsupial being an Australian...Welcome to my corner and thanks for taking the time to leave a message. I am still fighting Photoshop! I'll have to get my son around to help - they are good at all the tech stuff! I agree with you that all this learning to be a proficient blogger is very good for the brain.

  7. How are you Mona? Like you I felt like having a day off this morning but as the morning went by I found I was thinking about this issue of slowing down and really looking at the Lovely and the quotes I used flew into my memory so I just had to write it down...there I must really be a blogging junkie.

  8. I am well Delwyn just fo me this heat is not the best time of the year I have ross river fever and Mr ross loves this climate !

    Pss : I do not think i will last that long with not blogging!..there are days that I cant stop thinking about subjects.

  9. Mona - So sorry to hear you have RRF. I hope you get over the bout soon. Does it reoccur often? Keep writing and creating Mona...

  10. At the end of the day (sorry for the cliche!) the essence of beauty (or do I mean the essential beauty?) cannot be captured in our nets of words. It slips through any mesh. But isn't it that insubstantial, indefinable something in its nature that is the very thing we are looking for?

  11. Dave: good evening to you. That's a great point, its very illusiveness is its appeal and intrinsic allure. I just wish I could find the odd fresh word to wrap it up in...

  12. there are things that are better left unsaid...

    try experiencing the beauty with your body and soul - instead of your mind. you'll be amazed at the overwhelming extent of what your senses are able to feel... sometimes...words are just labels in which we unconsciously used to limit our horizons.

    sorry if i'm being nonsensical.

  13. When you quote Joseph Campbell,

    "The world is full of people that have stopped listening to themselves."

    It makes me think that what he meant was not quite exactly that we don't listen to ourselves. We do.

    But what we listen to, or at least, half-listen to, is mostly meaningless monkey-mind chatter. It's upsetting material, a lot of it, so, hey, let's turn on the TV for some background noise. Or talk radio. Something. Call someone on the cell. Visit MySpace. Something. Blog.

    What I believe Campbell meant is that we have stopped listening to our calm and compassionate and caring hearts.

    To hear our hearts, we can contemplate beauty, go out into nature, take up yoga, or meditation, or mountain climbing, or painting, just something that puts us face to face with our monkey minds long enough that we can listen carefully carefully, patiently, patiently, patiently, openheartedly, and begin to discern brief intervals of silence that can be found within the incessant chatter.

    Then, in those moments of quiet, we can hear silent, spacious, true healing messages that emanate from the heart at the void of the world.

  14. Good morning Dan; I have missed your responses this week. Thank you for your lucid elaboration of my point. I know that if we become absorbed in the moment, in whichever way suits us, then we can reach those places of inner wisdom and serenity. Its lovely to hear your thoughts and interpretations.

  15. Moon shin - you are so right. I was thinking of trying to put into words the feeling responses I have to other people's postings of art, poetry or photos. - so that I can make a heartfelt comment, but maybe I'm trying to do something that as you say is better left unsaid...

  16. Everybody - your responses today have made me think further about capturing the elusive and nailing it down in words. And as Thomas Moore says in my final quote maybe I should remain in the WONDER and forget about having an OPINION.
    thank you all...

  17. I gave up long ago trying to see everything. I get overwhelmed and then can't see anything. In museums, for instance, I take in as much as I can, then beat a hasty retreat, even if that means I've only seen a tiny fraction of any exhibit.

    Same with the blogging world. There are too many favorites so I dip in here and there. When I've taken in all I can, I put the computer away and go take a walk.

    i love you blog!

  18. Hi Reya, I feel honoured that you visit me...and thank you for the words of advice. Very wise you are dear Reya...and very erudite and articulate. I love your blog!

  19. I used to 'collect' many photo blogs in my favourites and scroll down through the multitude of gorgeous images in awe, anxious to see as much as possible. Then suddenly, overstimulation sets in and I feel as if I've just gorged on a big bag of chips (crisps) unable to stop.

    I like Alden's story - it is so true that one no longer sees what is always there. Getting back into photography and having a photoblog has helped open my eyes to the commonplace that may not be so commonplace to others.

  20. Morning Violet, I'm glad you have told me I've only been on this blogging lark for a matter of weeks I am over eager to see and taste everything but now I am going to slow the pace, and savour the goodies a little more... your photos will be on my list...
    What did you do before Photography?

  21. It is hard to do! That slowing down.
    A capital 'P'?! Why thank you.
    Sadly, I haven't been doing much. I bought myself a digital camera last year after years of not taking any pictures. I feel like I have so much to catch up on.

  22. I have a little award of fabulousness on my blog for you :)

  23. Lorrie: I am indeed very touched...


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