Exploring Themes

Transitional, Liminal, Intangible

If you like something, you usually want to have it, hold it, put it in your pocket. This is a problem for me, since the very thing I like is “intangibility”. Relationships. Decomposition. Longing. Masked. Dusk. Fog. They exist in between. In between me and you, this and that, absence and presence, clarity and abstraction. I find it a high form of beauty to have to experience something briefly and for that to be the last time.

In Plato’s Symposium, love and beauty is described as in between, which I think is the most appropriate and most beautiful description as it is neither about one person or the other, but the connection that exists between them.

Reineke Dijkstra’s photo’s of adolescence on the beach floored me because of their transitional nature. The subjects were neither children nor adults, they were neither clothed nor naked, they stood partly in the water and partly on land. The scenes are completely awkward and beautiful at the same time.

One time I was taking a walk along a river in Grand Rapids and I came across a dead fish on the trail. I was first disgusted by site and smell of the carcass, but as I looked for a longer period of time, I was able to see the beauty in the life cycle as the fish was picked away at by bugs, weather and animals.

Not in the sense of symmetrical. Teetering.

Light is an important aspect of anyone’s daily experience, but as a photographer, it is an especially conscious experience for me. I can remember the development of this sensibility. Suddenly the way light hit an object/person/space was exciting! What the hell?

Compassion for Styrofoam
I hate waste. No matter how hard I try, I am constantly leaving a large trail of shit behind me. I compost, I recycle, I reuse, yet there is still so much left over. Everything that is shipped is encased in styrofoam and bubble wrap, taped up and then sealed in a box. Our food comes in styrofoam and plastic and then is taken home in another plastic bag. I hate the misuse of resources and I hate the fact that I can’t escape it.

As a person who can’t throw things away, who imagines the landfill and the perservation of these objects for years and years after it is taken away, the time spent over the trash can is a conflicting and complicated one. Once I cut an itchy tag from a hat I walked over to the trash can to throw it away and literally stopped mid-toss as I noticed how much of an object this thing was. It had deep colors and shapes, information about where my garmet had been made. I thought for the first time about where this pesky tag had been produced. I’ve had similar experiences with packing materials. I am plagued by the clutter they cause when saved and the waste they cause when discarded. I have, however, come to enjoy their properties such as weightlessness, cushion, color, shape and feel. Ads in magazines have a similar disregard paid them as they are only current for 4 weeks if that. Once their purpose is up, they only serve as a reminder of what once was…if they last that long.

There is something about the overlooked that really gets an emotional response from me. I cried the first time I heard the Ben Folds song, “Fred Jones Part 2”. I feel for the shy kid or the disregarded elderly person. Maybe it’s because I grew up being the shy kid, although I don’t feel any sadness or shame for myself in remembering those experiences. It might sound funny, but I almost dare say that it is out of compassion that I want to deal with the small, mundane, disregarded objects. Can you feel compassion for styrofoam?

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