Intensified concentration is common to all creative people. Scientists, artists, philosophers name this degree of concentration Creativity; the devout call it Meditation. Losing one’s self in something; a flower, an idea, a movement, is characteristic of heightened concentration.
The theme, Octave of Prayer, comes from my personal realization that at times photography and prayer overlap. I first noticed this intersecting of the two while I was a mid-century soldier not allowed to photograph during boot camp. I turned my energies to religion and learned to savor each word of the Lord’s Prayer daily.
Photographs of churches, crosses, folded hands, misty figures or photographs of sculptured Buddhas or plaster Christs keep us looking from the outside. They allow us only an incomplete involvement. Exceptions of course, any subject is potentially radiant.
Art, poetry, music, as they are in their ordinary functioning, create mental and vital, not spiritual values; but they can be turned to a higher end, and then, like all things that are capable of linking our consciousness to the Divine, they are transmuted and become spiritual and can be admitted as a part of a life of prayer.
Before man existed natural symbolism was: light, fire, water, earth, animal symmetry up and down, in and out. While man is: his buildings in decay returning to Nature, blossom rorschach blots signifying light and angels. After man: The symbols of Nature will clang Hallelujah!
Photographers say they look at the world with truth and love. Saintly students of prayer swear that truth and love are seen only in contemplation a very high level of prayer indeed. What would we see in photographs if we could look at them in contemplation?