Combining Stereo Photography With Light Painting (Part 2)

I believe that via the medium of light-painted stereoscopic photography, the hermetic cultural data of a sacred place is preserved, allowing its gestural and symbolic nature to survive the seeming technological insensitivity that may be inherent in a documentary process.  Humbled that I am by these profound places, I intend my three-dimensional images to be neither didactic nor pedagogical but to convey the spirit of a landscape secularized by abuse and misuse.

Co-creating photographs with me in sacred places have been spiritual leaders, medicine women and men who bring to the process penetrating symbols from the depths of their unique collective cultural consciousness. It is essence of place that surfaces.

While I initially hesitated to impose interpretation on place, I recognize that inherent in its sacredness is an ambiguity. The most sacred is enigmatic and must remain so. As the rock art panel is an inscriptive articulation of ideas, so, too, is my light-painted stereoscopic image of it. For me a ritualistic act, photographing sacred geography using these techniques re-creates a primal response and celebrates its validity to life and indivisibility from culture.

It is the paradigm of many sacred places that there reside elements that are sometimes at odds and sometimes in harmony with each other. In my images, nature is not singled out as subject. Rather, the interrelationship of nature and humanity emerges, that extraordinary place “in time and space” where paradoxical powers coexist, where reality and duality assume shape and form and open me to other potentialities.

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    Combining Stereo Photography with Light Painting (Part 1)

    The space between our inner and outer realities—our imagined and observed environment—abounds with energy that is spiritually regenerative and transformative. Visual metaphors—whether playful or disturbing—refine our understanding of ourselves.

    In the early ’70s I adopted a photographic technique called “light-painting.” This aesthetically selective focusing technique enables me to orchestrate that interconnectedness between fantasy and reality and to pull from the shadows of the unconscious mythical and archetypal symbols.

    Combining these qualities with 3D stereoscopic photography creates images that further defy eye/mind limitations. These images—viewed in their intended three-dimensional format—assume a kinetic quality. Within this context I can represent energies as either harmonious or discordant with their surroundings.Stereo light-painting has enabled me to “see” a world that does not exist in our perceptual time and space. This felt environment evolves slowly, layer upon layer, in a deliberate, yet serendipitous manner. Moving to push the fertile moment beyond expected limits, I began exploring abstractions such as “femininity,” “male-ness,” or visual representations of the “dance of life,” “rebirth,” or “territoriality.”

    The Sacred Places Series of photographs that evolved from the earlier work comprises various genre of sacred places—architectural, rock art and natural sites—that are increasingly endangered by looting, vandalism, clear-cutting, chaining, strip mining, acid rain and other environmental or manmade hazards.

    Uncontrived documentary photographic records are historically useful for their immediacy in creating accessible baselines, providing a concise forum for critical observation relative to a site’s state of preservation and for formulating constructs from objective data. I am drawn to an interpretive approach to photographing sacred places, one that reflects the intangible, an aesthetic response from the contemporary perspective.

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