One day at the Grand Canyon, when I snapped this picture of Benjamin Alire Sáenz, I imagined we were being visited by aliens from another planet.
Who knows why, but that's why the image struck me. I saw their space ships coming over the canyon and imagined Ben was contemplating his last days on earth.
Were they really there?
Well, they are now.
Photography for me is not representing an image that exists, but the digital means to share what I see. In this sense, I am not a photographer, at least not in the documentary sense.
Often, I’ll see a face in something, even if it’s not really there, and I want to share what I see, not a material representation of matter interacting with light filtered through our retinas.
If I feel the presence of spirits when I look at something, I want to represent that image as I feel it.
Years ago, when I lived in Sunset Heights on El Paso Street, I looked out the window of my second story apartment and saw a basketball next to a brick wall. The image struck me, but to represent what I felt, I had to alter the image. Here’s what I did.
In other words, what I saw was not the THING, the material object.
What I saw was a NO-THING, a spirit evoked.
Splitting the image like a mirror helped me represent what I felt.
I will not, nor will I ever be a photojournalist.
Evelyn Underhill writes, “Reality is sharing the illusions of our neighborhoods.”
What is true is not material and cannot accurately be represented in two dimensions, no matter how HD it may be.
When you're walking alone in a strange landscape and a tree looks like a demon reaching out to grab you, there might very well be a demon in that tree.
At the very least, your imagination, which has a power to appear in substance, has helped create the demon in the tree.
It's up to you.