Blake and Zen
Tree. Sumo Ring. Suwa, Japan. 1995
Platinum-palladium print on vellum from 8×10 negative.
Amazingly, and nodding while reading Kathleen Raine’s book about Blake, I find some astonishing affinities with zen.
…”Blake, in the lucidity of his imaginative grasp of the issues at stake, declared that (reconciling religion with materialist premises) is impossible: not the discoveries of science but the premisses of materialism are heretical.” _ Riane, p. 12
The above image was made in winter, with a light snowfall on the ground. In zen, materialism, or any other conceptual process towards understanding one’s place in the greater order of things – to put it simply – is the function of a function. That which enacts the function cannot be defined by the function. The tree trunk splits the ring, the ring splits the tree, but only in the space of the print. they are functions of imagination, but they do not describe imagination. Now, this is where things get interesting: most people consider photography to exist despite or in spite of imagination. I think Blake would have argued otherwise, and I would agree.