Giving Name to Our Art

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

“I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure in the landscape- the loneliness of it- the dead feeling of winter. Something waits beneath it- the whole story doesn’t show. – Andrew Wyeth, painter

On the recent Bells Bend photo day of the women of f/4 studio, Sandy focused on the textures of winter while Sue gave herself the assignment of photographing lines. I was drawn into the solitude of winter.

As I photographed on that cold, gray day and as I developed my images, I found the words of my grandmother, whom we called “Toppie,” rummaging in the back of my mind. When she was  in need of a break, she would plop down in her rocking chair and say, “I’m all given out.” She meant she was tired and had no more to give.

As I walked among the brown, dry stalks of flowers and weeds and among the leafless trees, I realized all the plants were given out, listless and depleted. I also realized they, like Toppie, were only resting a bit until with a new surge of energy their seeds would sprout, green, and bloom..

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

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© Sharon Brown Christopher

Giving name to my art? For me it has something to do with anticipating the photographic experience before I arrive, sizing up, upon arrival, the situation with eyes and ears wide open, paying attention to what is roaming around in my head and heart while I move around and while I pause, and watching  my internal stirrings even in my post-experience dreams and while processing the images.

I’ve named this mini-series “Given Out.” And while looking given out, something was waiting beneath the dried stalks. As Andrew Wyeth said, “The whole story was not showing.”

 Contributed by Sharon Brown Christopher

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