February 20, birthday of Ansel Adams, master photographer, best known for his black and white landscape images of the American West, particularly the national parks and wilderness. His striking images of the beauty of nature and the natural world reflected his advocacy for conservation of wilderness areas and concern for the environment. The video shows a sample of his body of work, set to the music of Aaron Copland.
Image from Barbara Lee Photography, http://www.barbleephoto.com
Photograph taken in Zion National Park
“Swamp Oil is an iridescent film which forms over swamps and very shallow creekbeds. It is caused by rotting plant material. In the early morning light, this sheen just glowed.” —Barbara Lee
Image from http://www.photography.worth1000.com “How Happy Is The Little Stone”
HOW HAPPY IS THE LITTLE STONE
By Emily Dickinson
How happy is the little Stone
That rambles in the Road alone,
And doesn’t care about Careers
And Exigencies never fears —
Whose Coat of elemental Brown
A passing Universe put on,
And independent as the Sun
Associates or glows alone,
Fulfilling absolute Decree
In casual simplicity —
Matika Wilbur, a member of the Tulalip and Swinomish tribes, had a dream: to travel the country visiting and photographing people from every federally recognized tribe in the US. Thus, Project 562 was born. Her goal is to portray contemporary Indians, to reveal the complex variety of the Indian presence, and to “build cultural bridges, abandon stereotypes, and renew and inspire our national legacy.”
The portraits reflect the self-image of the subject. “I asked people to wear what they liked to wear,” she says. “They posed where they wanted to pose. I let them choose.”
The link below is a story from NBC News with more information on her ambitious project.
Her photographic work is currently showing at the Tacoma Art Museum. The exhibit is Photographic Presence and Contemporary Indians: Matika Wilbur’s Project 562.
This image was the grand prize winner in Smithsonian Magazine’s Photo Contest in 2010. Over 4,500 photographs flooded in from all over the world—105 countries in all—to compete in five categories: Altered Images, Americana, The Natural World, People and Travel. Ultimately, a panel of judges on the magazine staff chose 50 finalists, and of those, they selected five category winners and one grand prize winner while Smithsonian.com readers voted for their favorite image online.
To take the grand prize winning photograph, Kyaw Kyaw Winn didn’t have to go far. He traveled from his home in Yangon to the countryside of old Bagan to capture an image of young Buddhist monks. “You can see monks everywhere in Myanmar,” he told Smithsonian. “I am Burmese and I like our traditional culture and want to share it with other people around the world.”
Image by Kyle Ford at kylefordphotography.com
“For me, trees have always been the most penetrating preachers. I revere them when they live in tribes and families, in forests and groves. And even more I revere them when they stand alone. They are like lonely persons. Not like hermits who have stolen away out of some weakness, but like great, solitary men, like Beethoven and Nietzsche. In their highest boughs the world rustles, their roots rest in infinity; but they do not lose themselves there, they struggle with all the force of their lives for one thing only: to fulfill themselves according to their own laws, to build up their own form, to represent themselves. Nothing is holier, nothing is more exemplary than a beautiful, strong tree. When a tree is cut down and reveals its naked death-wound to the sun, one can read its whole history in the luminous, inscribed disk of its trunk: in the rings of its years, its scars, all the struggle, all the suffering, all the sickness, all the happiness and prosperity stand truly written, the narrow years and the luxurious years, the attacks withstood, the storms endured. And every young farmboy knows that the hardest and noblest wood has the narrowest rings, that high on the mountains and in continuing danger the most indestructible, the strongest, the ideal trees grow.
Trees are sanctuaries. Whoever knows how to speak to them, whoever knows how to listen to them, can learn the truth. They do not preach learning and precepts, they preach, undeterred by particulars, the ancient law of life.
A tree says: A kernel is hidden in me, a spark, a thought, I am life from eternal life. The attempt and the risk that the eternal mother took with me is unique, unique the form and veins of my skin, unique the smallest play of leaves in my branches and the smallest scar on my bark. I was made to form and reveal the eternal in my smallest special detail.
A tree says: My strength is trust. I know nothing about my fathers, I know nothing about the thousand children that every year spring out of me. I live out the secret of my seed to the very end, and I care for nothing else. I trust that God is in me. I trust that my labor is holy. Out of this trust I live.
When we are stricken and cannot bear our lives any longer, then a tree has something to say to us: Be still! Be still! Look at me! Life is not easy, life is not difficult. Those are childish thoughts. Let God speak within you, and your thoughts will grow silent. You are anxious because your path leads away from mother and home. But every step and every day lead you back again to the mother. Home is neither here nor there. Home is within you, or home is nowhere at all.
A longing to wander tears my heart when I hear trees rustling in the wind at evening. If one listens to them silently for a long time, this longing reveals its kernel, its meaning. It is not so much a matter of escaping from one’s suffering, though it may seem to be so. It is a longing for home, for a memory of the mother, for new metaphors for life. It leads home. Every path leads homeward, every step is birth, every step is death, every grave is mother.
So the tree rustles in the evening, when we stand uneasy before our own childish thoughts: Trees have long thoughts, long-breathing and restful, just as they have longer lives than ours. They are wiser than we are, as long as we do not listen to them. But when we have learned how to listen to trees, then the brevity and the quickness and the childlike hastiness of our thoughts achieve an incomparable joy. Whoever has learned how to listen to trees no longer wants to be a tree. He wants to be nothing except what he is. That is home. That is happiness.”
― Hermann Hesse, Bäume. Betrachtungen und Gedichte
Image by Hans Silvester
Tribes in the Omo Valley of Africa use natural body paint as well as leaves, branches, seedpods, fruit, seeds, horns, bones, and shells to adorn themselves and express their creativity. Click on the link to go to Inspiration Green to view some incredible body art.