I was standing on a mountain with a bunch of old friends the other day. We were at a mate’s property, before a huge bonfire, celebrating 2 friends’ 40th birthdays – all camping out together for the night.
In my brief conversation with one of the boys, we quickly came to be talking about spirituality. “I think that’s one of the things that all of us here have in common, our sense of spirituality is all about feeling connected…. TO THE LAND!” I chimed in. Most definitely, or in Matty’s case, more the OCEAN.
I make no claim to the kind of spirituality Aboriginal culture speaks of. As far as I am aware I have no heritage to link me there. And the fullness and complexity of traditional knowledge goes far and deep beyond my imaginings.
However, I do feel that rich and powerful connection to the land where I was born and I feel that divine appreciation for a natural landscape – in my own homeland and elsewhere on this planet.
This is why photography is somewhat like my bible. It helps me to stop and study my spirituality. I open my shutter and stop to breathe in the miraculous, the divine. It helps me to focus, calm myself, feel and capture my appreciation. The image becomes a thank you, an “I SEE you”.
This might sound a tad hippy, but once I climbed a tree in the dry Todd River bed of Alice Springs, hung my arms and legs around a huge branch and whispered “I promise to show the world, or remind the world how beautiful you are”.
Perhaps I was also whispering that to myself, as I seek to remind myself and everyone of our deserving of self-love and healthy worshipfulness. For is not my body a natural wonder?
The more I learn about it, the more I admire it, want to learn to respect it and see it as miraculous.
My macro work brings me in close, to see what is otherwise invisible or over-looked. And that is a whole new world of discovery. David Attenborough himself couldn’t be more excited by the layers and beauty that it reveals. Again, my anatomy study is a similar act with familiar outcomes. The inner workings of my body is also complex and inspiring, with multitudes of daily miraculous events occurring.
So photographing the earth, sky, sea, the natural world, including the human body is like entering a temple and bowing in prayer.
It is where I find peace, meet my maker and meet my humanity and my soul, even.
I wish more world leaders could feel this in their hearts and souls too. They might then be able to act as our Christ and save us, rather than our Judas. For what we do to the earth, we do to ourselves.
It’s impossible to live and breathe and adore this earthly place, without facing my own body within it, as part of it, my vessel to take me through this version of a life experience. Why then the epic struggle to truly love and cherish my own mountains, deep valleys, volcanic eruptions, hailstorms, deserts, lush rainforests and spinifex within?
It is a constant journey, but I intend to celebrate that journey. I trip up a lot, but I am still moving on it. Which brings me to my next body of work, an idea that has been brewing for a number of years. It’s fruition is overdue.
A combination of the body of the earth and the body of us. I’m looking for signs of life to photograph: scars, stretch marks, unusual markings, lines, blemishes, etc.
Please put yourself forward if you have any of these. You won’t be identified, your markings will be abstracted.
Please contact me through my facebook page if you wish to take part.