I Have My Ways of Praying
"I Have My Ways of Praying" is an ode to an old love- trees- and the towering presence they have been in my life since I first climbed into the welcoming embrace of their branches as a child. The title of the series is also a reflection of my long ago casting off of the ill-fitting garments of organized religion to return to the inherent truth and beauty of Mother Nature.
I have come full circle since trees and landscapes are all I shot 20 years ago and remain compelling to me today even after I've branched out (pun!) into more narrative experimental work. This series is not unlike the photomontage I was doing back in the day, perhaps a bit more subtle, but no one seemed to understand it at the time. It's not straight photography! It's not painting! Burn the witch! I am pleased to see that maybe now the world has finally caught up with that earlier vision. Creative and narrative landscape photography is having its rightful moment and what better time than now when Earth is on fire and needs our urgent attention.
I have been so busy this year of my re-emergence that I have felt a little disconnected from nature and the practice and daily observation of trees and the natural cycles of the seasons. It was in re-reading the exquisite poems of Mary Oliver that I found a path back into the woods, so many of the titles in the series come from her works.
How I Go Into the Woods
by Mary Oliver
Ordinarily I go to the woods alone,
with not a single friend,
for they are all smilers and talkers
and therefore unsuitable.
I don’t really want to be witnessed talking to the catbirds
or hugging the old black oak tree.
I have my ways of praying,
as you no doubt have yours.
Besides, when I am alone
I can become invisible.
I can sit on the top of a dune
as motionless as an uprise of weeds,
until the foxes run by unconcerned.
I can hear the almost unhearable sound of the roses singing.
If you have ever gone to the woods with me,
I must love you very much.