December 14, 2004

Photography by Catherine King: Meet My Collaborators

by Catherine King

Before I introduce my pure and gentle friends, I feel it necessary to take out some trash.

Some of our blog's most appreciated readers have enjoyed my flower photography in the spirit with which it is offered. I'm glad to pass on the beauty and joy that the flowers so generously give to me. These people get it.

It's bizarre, however, the way my flower photography brings out palpable rage, even hatred, in other, and always anonymous, visitors. Enraged by flower pictures? I'd say anonymous, and pseudonymous, have some issues. As if beautiful flowers were an affront to civilized people in our genteel society.

The offense here might be my flower photography, but then again, it might be me. Yes, as Jerome has long contended, it's probably not really about the flowers. It could just be that there's something about me that makes some people want to -- well, I won't go there. That would explain a lot, and I've sure got the experience -- and I won't go there either -- to support that theory.

I can tell that some of my most violent (about art!?) and cowardly critics aren't familiar with some of my earlier work. The vicious nameless ones would hold their tongues, for all the influence they'll have on me. They obviously haven't seen, read or figured out that Disappearing Woman, Wicked Woman, Sheela, and most especially Standup Woman, all embody aspects of myself. Each of these women is totally herself. Each inhabits her space completely, so densely that she is impervious to the putrid potshots of secret spineless little things, or even the blustering threats of Bellowing Giants, for that matter.

My life is so full and glorious right now. I'm in love and I get to do whatever I want 24/7. Jerome and I spend hours many days just sitting around, enjoying the flower arrangements, and talking about the World, and Life, and Art. No doubt some people will find this an enraging tidbit. Good. That's why I share it with my gentle readers.

Some people can go ahead and hate me all they want, if that's what they want. I'm used to it. But let it hereby be known that I'm as happy as can be, and Jerome and I are going to keep on doing art and writing whatever we damn well please. Something else that the vicious nameless ones obviously haven't seen, read or figured out is that there is no substitute for the exhiliration of standing by your own words and images. It's fun!

It's fun, and we relish every moment, having paid our dues, many times over, oh so long ago. Only real people who stand behind their work with real names deserve respect, and only the strong survive as well as we do. Jerome and I have done lots of hard work, sustained over time, and produced a beautiful body of work, of which we're really proud. All signed with our first and last names. Nobody can take any of it away from us. There are those who want to. Deal with it. Make your own art, build your own blog, Impotent Idiot.

Let's see, is that all the garbage to be dealt with for now? Good. Now we can get to the point. Enough of the hard-to-love humans. It's time to examine some more pure forms of being -- what my photography is all about. It is subject-driven, and my subjects are my gracious nonhuman collaborators -- the generous green beings and the ghostly orbs . . .

Toward the end of this summer, Jerome suggested that I take up flower arranging. It was not a frivolous suggestion. Of course, for me this meant just diving in and trying it, unencumbered by the bother of taking floral design classes. I did check out some definitive books on arranging that were especially appealing, discovered some looks that I liked and others I didn't.

I was enthusiastic but also intimidated -- the cut flowers seemed so precious and delicate. They hadn't grown on me yet, so their beauty seemed exclusive and elite. At first I'd buy a bouquet, clean and fluff it up a little, then kind of let the stems go where they wanted. See FLOWER POWER, for example.

The power of these green beings is subtle, but irresistible, I discovered as I handled them, grooming every stem. Within a week of my starting to arrange flowers, they had already, gently, worked their magic on me. It was evident as I handled their defenseless green bodies -- like beautiful, nonthreatening aliens.

As I held them, they started to communicate with me and get under my skin. They vibrated in my hands and their green power started flowing through me. I felt a blissfull serenity when we touched. My new friends were teaching me their language. They told me that they glow best with an uncontrived presentation.

Now that we were intimate, I could try more things with my flower arranging. It's important that each arrangement be distinctive, not just pretty. Some aren't really pretty at all, but all have a compelling immediacy. Each arrangement tells something unique that I feel must be captured before it dies. (Perhaps my favorite so far is FLORALROYALE. Witness the swirling energy).

The photography, you see, just naturally grew out of the flower arranging. The arrangements would live forever, with the click of a shutter. And these are full-framed photos; I don't crop, and I'm very proud that they are uncropped -- because, remember, these compositions are collaborations.

Oftentimes, when Jerome and I download a flower photograph for the first time, and just a huge corner of the maximum size comes up on the screen -- well, the power-packed, million-petalled, green-haired, spiral-tendrilled image is so gorgeous we both gasp in wonder!

In fact, we have had such interest in the photos that soon visitors to The Tears of Things will be able to buy large prints of my flower arrangements. I'm working on getting maximum size right now, because that's how they look best. I want to be able to offer about a 20" x 30" matte print -- the size we find so breathtaking. More to come . . .

My second area of photography -- spirit and ghost photography -- must really raise issues with just about all of our readers. Why? Because, in spite of their compelling beauty and captivating uncanniness, okay, and unprecedented, almost unbelieveable, boldness, no one ever says anything about the paranormal photography. It's been 2 1/2 years now. Jerome and I are beginning to become convinced that there is some telling psychological resistance to the entire subject of the mortality/immortality of the human race. (Or at least the small sample who visit the blog.)

Well, actually, two whole people have had something to say. One guy e-mailed me a few months ago, interested in our orb photos and saying that he'd also captured some in a remote graveyard. He asked if he could share his pictures and asked me what I thought about orbs.

I didn't get back to him. I'm basically a posting blogger, having done dialogue to death in previous incarnations. In this case, I had nothing to say because the guy should have known that there are hundreds of orb sites for enthusiasts to talk with each other. A few sites have some interesting scientific theories about the energy sources of orbs and their electromagnetic qualities. After all, the orbs were really there in actuality, so they had to have some physical qualities, now and then, as they visited from other dimensions.

These more scientific sites were helpful to me two and a half years ago when I started photographing orbs. (Crowd of Witnesses; Roomfull of Phantoms.)
At that time -- at all times -- I have to wrestle with my own findings, according to my personal tradition, so other people's metaphysics were, and are, of no use to me. Questions and issues of our mortality and immortality must be worked out mano a mano.

When one begins to accumulate a such a compelling photographic archive of orbs and other anomalies, one quickly becomes convinced that they are ghosts and spirits. Something uncanny was there, and it felt more like the dead than like anything else, such as extraterrestrials or angels.

They really are there, okay? and they feel like the dead. That's all I can say with assurance; anything else would be speculation. I suppose that's what they do on the orb site chat rooms -- speculate to their heart's content. What Jerome and I do is make art from our ghost photos -- presented with all the mystery, and the sensitivity to their message, intact.

We have this stunning, growing archive of wondrous images, which any viewer can see, anytime, by clicking on The Tears of Things banner, which is continually updated. Are not every one of these images beautiful? Moreover, each one is important, representing, as it does, evidence of the immortality of human life. Beautiful, Important, always there in Abundance? We think they cover the Earth, as ubiquitous and enchanting as our other collaborators, the flowers. So we have to continue capturing the orbs, and likewise, as artists, we're compelled to make art out of them. It's what we do.

Posted by Jerome at December 14, 2004 07:40 AM | TrackBack