Photography, Seasons

Photographic Resonances

These portraits of me were taken in the Summer of 2022 by the wonderful Agnieszka Rytych-Foster.

This first one is about geometric abstraction:

About the second one: it’s easy to center a sunflower inside a square so it looks good, but here I wanted to create an asymmetric composition where the swirling core is in-and-out of focus, bleeding across the left edge of the image, while giving way to a radiance of petals on the right. Why does this image pair with the crumbled temple stone from South India? I could try to explain it, but I’ll save my words and let you look:

In the third portrait, I’m holding a fall leaf and a spring leaf side-by-side. I captured these images a few years apart, not thinking about the first leaf when I later encountered the second. Looking through my portfolio one day, I noticed that the central veins of these two leaves align with each other, allowing the two photographs to almost snap together like lego pieces, creating one extended leaf. My smile in this photograph is a reenactment of how I felt when I noticed this happy coincidence. And I’ve dedicated countless hours to searching for more coincidences like this — not taking photographs with the intention to pair them in a specific way, but rather discovering these resonances after the fact, where an image from one time and place might surprisingly happen to connect with another image from a completely different time and place. I think the fall leaf is the simpler of the two images here. I like it simply for the way the veins stretch throughout the square frame, filling it with an yellow-orange glow. The image of the spring leaf combines light shining through the leaf, creating a green glow, with light shining on the leaf, highlighting its fuzzy texture. The two images come together to form a larger “phrase” about the transition between seasons.

Photography, Seasons

Fall 2020

Fall leaves can look like fire. Here, I see a ring of fire circling a negative space. When we look into that space we see nothing but a blur of still-green leaves above:

These leaves, rustling in the wind, all the same shade of red, look to me almost edible, like ornamental candy wafers:

The branches and stems here call my attention to all the work that had to be done in spring and summer to bring moisture and nutrients to so many leaves, then young, now orange and resplendent and soon to fall away:

This image recreates for me a bit of the swirling sensation that I experience when, in a forest, I notice that even the things I thought were still are moving:

Taking a closer look at a cluster of leaves glowing in the sun, we find there’s still some green to be seen and remembered as it cedes the stage to brown:

Sometimes a photograph that seems a mistake turns out to be more than that. Here, motion blur combined with shallow depth of field creates a composition that looks chaotic, but for me the diagonal stems give it structure and the smaller leaves in the background that are clearly in focus anchor this image as a photograph. A photograph that reminds me of an expressionist canvas:

In this image I don’t see any one leaf that’s particularly remarkable. The leaf that’s most clearly in focus is also shaded, so we aren’t able to enjoy its full visual potential. But this image teaches me that a composition doesn’t need to contain a “star” to be effective. The shallow depth of field makes the background seem like a watercolor and I like how everything hangs from those two stems at the top:

Here is an enchanted forest. The original version of this image was pale and badly overexposed, and nothing is quite in focus, so I considered discarding it. I find that trying to salvage a flawed image is usually a waste of time; better to go out and take another. But there are exceptions. My efforts to vivify this image in post-processing resulted in a product that represents — pretty darn well — what I think I actually saw. Just the other week, my mother told me that one of my grandmother’s first jobs in the 1930s was colorizing black and white photos. I wonder what my grandmother might have done with the original version of this image, which was nearly black and white, and how much the end product might have resembled what you see here:

My eye is drawn to fall leaves that glow in the sun. Sometimes I have to remind myself to look at those beautiful leaves that don’t happen to be illuminated at the moment:

Of course, I’ll always be a sucker for sunlight, whether it’s lighting up a thousand leaves or just one:

The images here were taken October 17th and 18th in Hopkinton and Berlin, Massachusetts, though I feel like I’ve been collecting them — maybe just the idea of them — for much longer. Dear viewer, thank you for joining me on my Fall journey this crazy year, 2020!



Summer 2017

Looking over old Facebook posts, I see that I had shared this image on July 28, 2017 as a way of saying “Happy summer” to my friends.


“Happy summer all. This photo is from 2016. Glad the bees came back in 2017. Pollination continues.”

Editor’s note: Over the years, Facebook has diverted some of the attention I would have otherwise given to my blog and now as I plan my departure from Facebook, I’m trying to give that attention back to my blog. For Facebook posts that were time or season-specific, I find it convenient to make a new blog post that’s backdated to match the original Facebook post. So you’ll see a date of July 28, 2017 on this blog post even though I’m writing it January 23, 2019. Maybe this technique will be helpful for others who are considering leaving Facebook and wondering what to do with all their Facebook history: put it on your blog and backdate it.