A Photographer’s Exploration of a Crystal
As a fine art photographer, stones serve as one of my primary subjects, and I often frequent mineral shops or mineral trade shows, intuitively seeking out visual languages. A stone may trigger the memory of a childhood dream or a particular theme, story, or emotion, and result in an acquisition.
My interest in photography began during my college years while studying architecture. I have been committed ever since to a dual life-path involving visual discovery and design, relating to both the natural and built environments. In 2004, a long-time friend visited my home, and she happened to glance at the collection of minerals in my sunroom. This prompted her to inquire whether I had ever considered photographing my crystals. Thus, the spark was set, and I soon commenced upon my journey with my first gallery exhibition in 2007.
Each photo shoot is arranged on a fine, relaxed day, with carefully selected ambient/electronic background music to encourage clarity of mind and to stimulate a multi-sensory awareness. The mineral is set up in the studio, and with a macro lens, I embark upon an exploration of its inner landscape—scoping out its regions, experimenting with scale, and defining borders. I search for compositional patterns, colors, textures, and tonal gradations. I contemplate potential points of departure from the historical and mythological to the spiritual and fantastical. As well, I am influenced by various twentieth-century art movements including Impressionism, Expressionism, Cubism, and Surrealism.
I work with a large variety of minerals: flat, curved, 3-D, opaque, or translucent. One type that I enjoy exploring is Iceland spar calcite, a calcium carbonate mineral. This 3-D, translucent, rhombohedral crystal with parallelogram form can appear colorless, and often is imbued with internal, multi-directional cleavage planes.
Working with Iceland spar calcite often leads to surprising results. In order to engage its prismatic effects, I utilize either natural or artificial light refracted through the crystal. This involves probing the crystal’s depths for multiple colors, then orchestrating angle orientation to the light source, the crystal itself, and the camera.
This body of images inspired by minerals has resulted in my series Imaginary Realms. The following sample images from my series use Iceland spar calcite as the source mineral and are accompanied by essays. Below are a few examples:
Times Square Elsewhere
Upon passing through the portal, one is immersed within an animated metropolis. Textured stone juxtaposed against smooth metallic planes present their glorious presence to the mass of citizens. Blended colors emanate shimmering hues of light across the architectural forms. The twin suns have long set, and singers and dancers emerge into the night. The densely packed crowd is in a state of euphoric celebration and anticipation as the midnight hour approaches. Once the climactic moment is reached with a countdown, the architecture begins to morph into a changing sculptural series of dynamic forms—mega-robots to starships to an assortment of diverse themes and subjects, and the transformational process affects the imagination of the astonished viewers. Indeed, this Times Square Elsewhere experience is an annual traditional event, watched from around this other world.
Port of Luminosity
After a long journey through the wormhole, the starship reaches the calculated orbit and awaits its landing instructions from below. The passengers enjoy their relaxed viewing of the intricate interplay between the shapes of textured land masses and the glistening, vast oceans. Upon completing two orbits, the crystal vessel gracefully descends through the atmosphere and is piloted towards its planned destination on the dark side, hidden from the sun. Within a few short minutes, it silently touches down on the smooth runway and gently rolls towards the main terminal. A quiet, comforting mist rises, and it is enlightening to view layers of prismatic light from the structure, refracting through this blanket of contentment at the Port of Luminosity.
Manifesting the Aura
Upon entering the visionary portal, time seems to dissipate. A link is activated to the inner self and awareness is amplified. All physical limitations become irrelevant; the spirit within is now free to traverse space and time. A universal consciousness, allows for understanding and a rejuvenated clarity. The notion of intent now has the propensity to be transformed into reality. Manifesting the Aura reveals a polychromatic vision of this experience.
The unifying theme of these Imaginary Realms explores the notion of a universal consciousness, along with matter/energy/mind/spirit transformations on multiple scales and layers of thought. Serving as catalysts, the abstract images are intended to inspire observers to partake in their own visual journeys. Ultimately, through my images I hope to stimulate the viewers’ curiosity and imagination, and to encourage their own exploration into universal insights.