The photographic process allows me to slow down, to notice the magical moments that pass us by in our busy self-centered worlds.
Today, a group of daddy longlegs gave me a moment of unexpected magic while they fed on the nectar of ground-elder (Aegopodium podagraria also known as goutweed) this morning. This is a weed here in Pennsylvania and the way the light caught the carrot like flowers was enticing in the dappled early morning light. I was immediately transported back to a field of queen-anne’s lace in Ohio across from my childhood home. I was photographing the cloud-like flower clusters when moments later the daddy longlegs emerged from beneath the foliage. I struggled to photograph them, trying to anticipate their next move in a constant flow of jerky movements. This struggle was not helpful and every photograph stunk. So part of my process when this happens is to take a step back. I listened to them for a while, without the camera in hand. It was then that I felt their rhythm, a synchronized dance counter-clockwise around the single infloresence. If they moved to another cluster, they always felt with one of their longer legs first before making that leap of faith. Now the photographs worked… after I became tuned into the rhythm of the morning… after my head was clear and my senses aware. And then I was reminded of this wonderful quote by Minor White, “Spirit always stands still long enough for the photographer it has chosen.”
I used this experience to make a digital story during a workshop last week conducted by the Center for Digital Storytelling. You can see the story on my Facebook page.