The often-stunning beauty of symmetry is well-known. I have begun an exploration of it using objects and patterns which I find fascinating but which will not stand alone as finished images. In creating symmetries from these elements I made an astonishing discovery which will form the basis of a long-continuing exploration: I found that in making a symmetry of an object I revealed its spirituality.
Many of my elements were wild things which contained huge energies and movements -- formations of high thin clouds created by strong winds, waterfalls, and smoke from wildfires. In making symmetries of these wild objects, I found I was taming them. I was beginning with elements of power and chaos, and by introducing the formality of symmetry I completely changed them. They still held their mystic power but now that power could be held, examined, studied, worked with, placed in a context and used as a context.
Other elements contained stillness -- the equally formidable feminine powers of plants and flowers, feathers, wood, bones and stones. In this series I have combined wild and still elements -- the elements of life and freedom, earth and sky -- to make dream landscapes in which the tamed forces pose, play, interact, tease, and lay themselves open to question, examination and admiration.
The first 7 images in this series were completed within a few weeks in the spring of 2001. Each was constructed beginning with a mirror-image symmetry of a sky, but in each image the basic piece which was reflected was of a different shape – i.e. each did not start with a full-frame slide, but with a cropped piece of either a 35mm or 6x7 chrome. Then a foreground was added, again each being unique to its own image. Bizarrely, all but one of the finished images came out to virtually the same aspect ratio.
Also bizarre was the fact that in each image I began with a sky with thin, high clouds in interesting formations. Such skies are rare in northern California, where I live, but as I began the series in the spring of 2001, inspired by a recent cloud photograph, I noticed that almost every day we had such clouds, for a period of over 6 weeks. I think this is incredibly unusual. I now have a large stock of cloud images to work with and will keep adding to them and revisiting the series – watching it grow and evolve as each individual image does.