[Photographer, b. 1902, Chicago, Illinois, d. 1975, Monterey, California.]
In a photograph, if I am able to evoke not alone a feeling of the reality of the surface physical world but also a feeling of the reality of existence that lies mysteriously and invisibly beneath its surface, I feel I have succeeded.
Mysteries lie all around us, even in the most familiar things, waiting only to be perceived.
At their best, photographs as symbols not only serve to help illuminate some of the darkness of the unknown, they also serve to lessen the fears that too often accompany the journeys from the known to the unknown.
For me photography has been a profession, an avocation. Now it has become a way of life.
My thinking has been deeply affected by the belief that all things are some form of radiant energy. Light is perhaps the most profound truth in the universe.
What you see is real—but only on the particular level to which you’ve developed your sense of seeing. You can expand your reality by developing new ways of perceiving.
A person is quite different from a tree or rock or stream. By introducing the nude into my pictures, I started perceiving all the things I was photographing in new ways. In contrast or opposition to each other, things became much more significant and interesting, revealing many more qualities than I had ever dreamed of knowing and expressing. By using the nude, I stopped thinking in terms of objects. I was seeing things, instead, as dynamic events, unique in their own beings yet also related and existing together within a universal context of energy and change.
As I became aware that all things have unique spatial and temporal qualities which visually define and relate them, I began to perceive the things I was photographing not as objects but as events. Working to develop my skills of perceiving and symbolizing these event qualities, I discovered the principle of opposites. When, for example, I photographed the smooth, luminous body of a woman behind a dirty cobwebbed window, I found that the qualities of each event were enhanced and the universal forces which they manifested were more powerfully evoked.