Artistic Illusions

I believe that art is a tremendously valuable way to give the mind escape from the harsher realities of life.  We want to believe in the beautiful and ethereal qualities of existence too, and we should. Movies, literature, poetry, music, paintings and yes, photography ... exalt the inner workings of the artistic and creative in us and give us pause, in order that we might recognize those less tangible things in ourselves and in others.  I believe that is something to be protected and carefully guarded; a treasure beyond compare and one that has been largely lost in the rush and constant noise of the world we find ourselves living in today.  We have forgotten how to stop and see and smell the rain.  We are too quick to see it as nothing more than an annoyance that slows us down from rushing to the less meaningful things in our daily lives.   

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There is already a place for reality and most of us live it with clarity every single day.  We hit the alarm clock and get up to face the responsibilities of another morning.  We tend to sick children, head to jobs that we may or may not love, cook, clean, pay the bills and then wake up and do it all over again the next day, day after day after day.   Is it any wonder that we look for ways to step outside of ourselves sometimes?  To dream, to create, to touch the rain or the stars or the mystical insides of a flower?

I recently had a long conversation with a friend from Bangladesh.  I love how the internet shrinks the world a bit and then blows it up into something even larger, makes me feel larger than life and then in equal measure, as small as a grain of sand ...  Like breathing ... expanding and contracting my lungs keeps me alive.  This friend spoke to me about defending his friend from a particularly harsh critique on the "overuse" of Photoshopping techniques in her images.  It made me think about an earlier statement I made about the way I create by "subtly altering an image" as opposed to "Photoshopping it to death." When listening to my friend, it made me realize that I should rethink that statement.  It's funny, I was imagining Picasso might find excessive photoshopping rather joyous.:)  Who are any of us to say, what "excessive photoshopping" truly is?  What is meaningful and beautiful to some, may look like nothing more than misplaced noses and eyes to others.  

Now If I were being completely honest, I'd have to say I don't usually like writing a post like this. For me, it is almost akin to a magician standing up before a crowd and methodically explaining his illusions, which, as far as I am concerned, should never happen.   Well...never say never, right?  I find myself wanting to share the untouched version of the image above, if only to encourage you to look at all of your images, as I have said so so many times before ... as a blank canvas.  To see INTO an image with your heart, and not just with your eyes.  I call it mining diamonds out of coal. I really do love the words of Khalil Gibran so very much and so I quote him yet again.

Perhaps the sea’s definition of a shell is the pearl.
Perhaps time’s definition of coal is the diamond.
— Khalil Gibran