Love: The Shaman, 1990. Platinum-palladium print on 100% cellulose (Fabriano 5) from original 8×10 in negative.
From a series of still life pieces about belief, learning and rationalism, summed up it seemed against the counterpoint of shamanism, this image was particularly inspired by Manuel de Falla’s gut-grabbing El Amor Brujo. Listen to this performance by the DRSO and Rafael Frühbeck de Burgos… especially around 14:15 to 18:00.
Time is flavored by cultures and landscape. Time in the USA, aptly, tastes like fast food – all texture, sugar and salt. Time in the West is tightly oriented. Time moves forward. It speeds up, or slows down. Haitian time is conditioned by walking and waiting. Like it’s roads, it is unpredictable, and rolls around.
I’ve looked down from this particular vantage point many times over several years. Below me, a courtyard and walled garden, that receives and shelters outpatients and their families. They walk and drive considerable distances, and wait for days sometimes, to be seen and treated by Zanmi Lasante’s medical staff in the Outpatient Clinic. During the mornings, there is frenetic activity, queues, doors opening and closing, loud conversations, a sense of stress and urgency. In the late afternoons and especially at night, the atmosphere shifts and softens. Especially at night. From my balcony, sometimes I hear hymns, folk songs, gorgeous and swelling, sucking up pain and hardness, melding everything into a big mush. At other times, I felt myself being pulled downstairs to be closer to the sounds of anguish, but feelings that were controlled and absorbed into chant and prayer. Time rolls me around, and frequently, it is hard to relate time to up or down.
Canon 5D MKII, EF 35mm 1.4L USM lens, post processed in Lightroom
Filtration tank, Shastraling Talau (near Rani ki vav), Patan. Gujarat, India.
Novemeber 1995, platinum-palladium print, 8×10 in
Tonight, a friend, Claire Reishman read out an inspiring anecdote (I think from Wayne Dosick’s When Life Hurts: A Personal Journey from Adversity to Renewal) about Itzhak Perlman to a group of participants at Shakerag Workshops. In short, he is reputed to have performed a concerto with only three strings, the fourth having snapped during the performance. At the end of a stunning concert, he silenced the audience’s applause and said, ‘You know, sometimes it is the artist’s task to find out how much music you can still make with what you have left.’ There is some doubt about the authenticity of this story, but the lesson far outweighs its veracity (or not). What we have left… much has been written about creativity in terms of its energy, vigor and all the linkages our culture establishes between it and youth. Little is said or acknowledged about the steadily increasing burden of the creative endeavor and its links with age, virtuosity, and necessity. That is, ultimately, all we have left. Thanks Claire!