James with and without Roses

James does lighting for a living but he brings an even brighter light to his everyday life.

He’s gone through life changing experiences and always seeks the wisdom inside those moments of hardship.

Many thanks for his willingness to step into the shrubbery for this portrait and for his grace always.

Not sure what it is that draws me to this place, but the pictures made here have a feel to them I find intriguing and compelling.

Maybe it’s a feeling of emerging from a dark place to a lighter one.

Or, stepping out of entanglements, mental, emotional- patterns which trap us.

Maybe it’s the mystery. That thing just beyond knowing.

Part of me really wants to know but the artist part says – don’t know and that’s cool. Just keep going.

Maybe you have that feeling too sometimes.

Lovely roses thanks to Michelle of Blumgarten in Pilsen. @blumgartenco @blumgarten

What You Seek…

Is seeking you

Lake Michigan in Winter

I make black-and-white photographs.

I’m interested in interconnection and so understanding our relationship to each other and the landscape as a spiritual matter, but also in practical terms. How does this relationship, this experience, inform our thoughts, words, and actions?

It matters because we’re in an especially delicate place as a planet-our survival and the potential thriving of our species and all species we share this planet-time with, depends on what we do; not only now but in the future. The ripple effect of all our tiny actions matter.

Like when you’re standing at the lakefront, or anyplace outdoors, how does it make you feel? Do you feel separated from or connected to the world around you? How do those feelings and beliefs inform what you do and how you treat that world?

A History of Staring at Ceilings

For my entire life reaching as far back as I can remember, which varies at times in range, from perhaps the age of three or four and up, and occasionally even earlier, to those times before the acquisition of language, before the capacity to name.

I have distinct and specific memories of lying on the couch, or a bed for one reason or another: perhaps having been told to take a nap, or as an adult choosing to take a break, perhaps feeling depressed or sick, and other times savoring the beauty, the simple beauty of light as it fell through the window, or from a light on the ceiling, as it met the corner of the room, and sometimes the window.

These moments have always and still do contain an entire universe of possible emotions, a sense of deep connection to all that is; this deep feeling of potential, and at the same time a deep anxiety at the possibility of missed potential, missed opportunity.

I realize I still have that same exact set of feelings now.

The feelings vary; sometimes anxiety, sometimes joy, sometimes anticipation, the full range of human emotions.

My work arises from a desire to understand the ongoing stream of felt experiences along the full emotional continuum. This occurs via direct experiential processing, an ongoing , intuitive development of a visual photographic vocabulary.

This lexicon seeks to make visible the invisible: what do we see and how does it impact us and how are we in relationship to it?

It confronts the fundamental reality of suffering; our confusions about connection and disconnection.

My work seeks meet our experiences of suffering with an authentic wrestling with the right kind of problems; that is, those which ask questions, the asking of which and the attempts at answering have deep and consequential meaning that continue to generate profound meaning in our lives.

The work seeks to alleviate existential suffering by offering moments of contemplation of beauty and connection even in some of the most unusual places.

It’s seeks to help us turn and face our fears rather than run from them. The images arrive from a desire to find places of connection rather than being caught and confused by apparent separations encountered in every day reality.

The Passage of Time

Some photos are not of a single decisive moment but actually light up with the passage of time. And sometimes that glow is beyond astonishing.

And even more, sometimes we can pause and recognize that same glow which is our own divine light shining from within. We can see this in ourselves and all the beings it’s whom we share this planet, this time.

Amazing!

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Art Helps Us Face the Inevitable 

Wouldn’t it be nice to learn how connecting with art can help us face the inevitable? It can! 

One of the ways is by helping us remember what is most important to us, remembering those things that we love, those ephemeral moments of beauty which sustain us on a day-to-day basis.

Join us for a fun, engaging couple of hours at the world’s best museum, The Art Institute of Chicago!  

Space is very limited to make the most of your experience so giddy up and get your tickets now. 

#arteducation #fineart #artremembers #everythingchanges #ephemeralart #chicago #chicagoart #artinstituteofchicago #artastherapy #ArtInChicago #alaindebotton #hillaryjohnsonphotographer #HillaryJohnsonDocumentaryPhotographer #hillyshoots