Meditations on Dying is a new series which evolved on its own as I spent time in nature, clearing my head, as my dad was dying in February of this year (2013). The frigid Wisconsin weather forced me to do more of a walking meditation instead of just sitting in nature as I often do. These walking meditations brought me these images. Images that I know my dad would have loved, and been proud of. After I had taken a dozen or so images, I realized that I was wishing he would be able to see these photos, and that is when I decided to create this series, in memory of him.
My dad (and mom) always encouraged and supported my creativity. Both of them got me into drawing by age 8 or so, and later bought me a camera. That old Minolta 35mm started it all! After high school, I was working as an auto mechanic, and figured that would be my career. My dad heard of a fine art photography school in Milwaukee, and asked me if I would be interested in that. I was honored to realize that he felt learning fine art photography was perhaps a better path for me. While he may not have said it directly, he had a lot of faith in me, and in my art. He saw that I loved being creative, and he never did anything to destroy that. He also never pushed me to do anything I didn’t want. He’d share ideas, listen to mine, and be supportive and understanding as was needed. His positive outlook was always on the lines of “I think you’d enjoy doing that, why not give it a try? If it doesn’t work out, you can always try something else.”
I couldn’t be more grateful for his support, and faith in me and my photography. I’m glad that during this past year, he was able to see me start focusing on my art photography 100%. (Thanks to my wonderful wife, Jessica, for her support and faith in me too!) Every time he & I talked over this past year, it seemed I had a new art festival, or gallery opening that I was accepted into. Aside from the excitement in his voice, I could hear that he was proud that I was on my art photography path again. After he passed away, my mom also mentioned that he was so happy to see me doing my art photography again.
About the images
On my trip back to Wisconsin, I only brought my Lumix G1 and had my iPhone as well. While I began photographing with my Lumix, a few images from the iPhone with the Hipstamatic Tintype app made me realize that is the look that fit my mood. I think that even if I did have my real wet plate gear with me, the experience would not have been the same for me. The ease of using the iPhone during my walking meditation was key. Setting up a real camera and working through the entire wet plate process would’ve completely detracted from my main goal of being in quiet contemplation. Meditating on the fact that my dad was dying was the main thing for me. The photos in this series are, for me, an extension of the sadness, beauty, and gratitude I was feeling. A way of expressing myself visually since words elude me.
My goal with this series is to make enlarged digital negatives from which I will make contact prints using a historic process such as salt printing, albumen printing, or something similar. The prints will be done in small editions, and possibly some one of a kind prints. I also plan to produce a book of the images once the printed series is completed.
Below are a portion of the images from this series.