It all started when I visited the Phahto Tharmyar Temple in Bagan (Myanamar). For some reason beyond my understanding the image of the Buddha at that specific temple filled up all my senses as I stood there mesmerized by the image and the light, for what it felt like an eternity. And when I came back to my senses I knew I had to take a different kind of photograph. One that could convey all those feelings flying through my mind and heart. At first, I tried different points of view, this angle, that angle… but nothing was working. Here is one of those first images:
As luck will have it, I was traveling with Winslow Lockhart, one of the leaders of the Within the Frame Adventures and she, being such a perceptive human being, sensed my struggle. She suggested trying something different. Something I had never tried before. Use a long exposure and shake the camera to change the perception until the image represents your feelings. I will be forever grateful to her!
It was a fascinating moment as my mind started to think about different approaches to that challenge. For the longest time I have learned the rules of photography: what you are supposed to do (or not) and how you are supposed to do it (or not). And then, in a single instant, I learned how to break free of those rules. Don’t get me wrong, those rules are important and a necessary knowledge everyone needs to acquire and practice. In fact I do not think I could have taken the picture below without having mastered those skills just because in order to break the rules you need to know, understand and work on them for a long time. I also have to admit I never felt the need or the confidence to break them before and it was special to be with someone like Winslow at the right moment to push me to imagine something different.
And here is the final image. The one that I believe represents what I felt from the moment I went into that temple. A Buddha within a Buddha. The “detail” and the “whole” all together. One and multiple images all at once.
Even thought it looks like two images merged in photoshop, this photograph is just a single shot. 4 seconds at f/22. ISO 2500. The camera was set to record the whole figure for 2 seconds and I zoomed in (really fast) to record the other 2 seconds on the close up image.
And that is how “Motions & Dreams” began. Myanmar became a journey full of impressions and intuitions for me…