Bulrushes reflected in our pond at deep dusk. I've just completed an intensive four-day workshop on abstract painting and composition and it seems to have seeped into my way of seeing. That and viewing Paul Strand's abstract photographic nature studies on various online sites. His much quoted, "All good art is abstract in its structure,” certainly rings true to me. His miniature landscapes of leaves, flowers and rocks (THE GARDEN AT ORGEVAL) have a rigour and sensitivity to light and space, form and shape that makes them look like grand vistas in microcosm. Contemplative or Miksang photography makes similar discoveries by paying attention to those "flashes of insight."
Another abstract photographer, James Baker Hall, who died in 2009, created a sort of ethereal minimalism with his striking images of leaves and pond reflections. I had never heard of him until I attended a recent screening of Look & See: A Portrait of Wendell Berry. The director, Laura Dunn, employs Baker's images throughout this beautiful, diffused documentary (what a pleasure to spend 80 minutes in the company of Wendell Berry). Baker and Berry were life-long friends and literary collaborators.
From THE GARDEN AT ORGEVAL:
@Paul Strand Archive, Aperture Foundation
© James Baker Hall Archive