influences and confluences

to have the knowledge that you seek a particular vein of something is to be aware of not only your tastes, but what influences you, creates bias and division, separates one set of concerns from another. connoisseurship, perhaps, but also a little bit of greek wisdom: to know why you are drawn to specific things, people, situations or a kind of aesthetics is a form of knowing thyself.

i have been swayed by a particular kind of representation of birds. for years i’ve been made aware of this imagistic longing which i posses. it is very specific. when i say to someone, “i’m interested in making photographs of birds,” to the addressee that immediately creates some presumptions that become harder to correct if the conversation goes much deeper than this. “oh, so you’re into landscape photography then?” no, not exactly. not the way you perceive what that genre is, nor, probably, the way that i do.

when i search for ways to describe this, even to myself, the vocabulary comes up lacking. the best way i can find to describe what i mean and to describe it absolutely is to pull a photograph or a book from somewhere and physically give it and then in turn my meaning to someone. to you. my clumsy visual lexicon:

a certain awareness of grace:

camille solygua


michael ackerman

a love of form and play with space:

katsushika hokusai

masao yamamoto

smallness. delicacy:



jim dine : birds

from multiple sensibilities i become aware and attuned to my own. i define what bird is to my own eye, and i redefine each adjective i found to describe each form; meaning becomes expanded and at the same time compressed. i also define by negation what the image i seek is not. a healthy respect for both these image makers and what they pulled from within them begins to emerge within me. awe is balanced by fright which is balanced by play which is balanced by tea-stained memories that never were. the influences become confluences when i take my camera into a scene with a mind full of birds.

these were taken a much warmer season ago, in a much warmer clime than i inhabit now. before i left the south:

these are sketches of thoughts, really. the diet of one who intends to make more images which will evoke the lexicon she’s using to go by for the moment, and then expand the meanings she had previously described. more work in the works. both the written and the seen.

6 thoughts on “influences and confluences

  1. Come to you via Masao Yamamoto and glad that I did. I think sometimes it is better to stumble than to always know where to tread.I thoroughly enjoyed your writings and of course the images. thank you,regards Peter.

  2. New hardcore french writer:

    “Id√©ologiquement Cash/Chiotte

    L’aplat de niaiseries r√©pandu sur le texte a emp√™ch√© de d√©voiler la puissance col√©rique des propos en g√©n√©ral. Une sorte de philosophie en parfaite ad√©quation avec l’√©poque. Ni avant-garde, ni conservatisme.”

    To be continued:

  3. “To know why you are drawn to specific things, people, situations or a kind of aesthetics is a form of knowing thyself.”

    What if that which you are drawn to photographically does not line up with all other aspects of yourself? What if those things are at odds with what you believe? What if those things have nothing to do with what you feel? What if those things tell nothing about yourself but instead, everything about something that you are really not? What if those things tell others something that you are not trying to say? What if those things tell lies and speak not the truth?

    What if those things tell the viewer more about themselves than they do the photographer himself? What if the story is actually inside the viewer and the picture is meant for them?


Leave a Reply to Peter Owen Cancel reply