Sky Goddess
Copyright 2013 Mary Yates
In recent years I have disconnected with my sense of the mystical and have been wondering why I allowed myself to be distanced from the things that nurture my soul. In combing through some recent illustrations however I saw that my spiritual side was indeed still very present in my work and now I am contemplating these images as a sort of meditation. I know I tend to lean toward some of the darker aspects of of my interests in my work, but truly the idea of cosmic harmony and a connection to spirit is something that is never very far from my thoughts. I could go into process here, which is my tendency but instead I want to talk about some of what moves me and makes me create the work I do, both dark and light.

I've always felt that there was magic in the world. The breathtaking beauty of the seasons and shifting changes in nature are where I think whatever you want to call god exists. The harmony that is present in the movement of the tides and the shifting, undulating cycle of life plays a tune that invites us to dance with a greater mystery. If you pay attention you will find this presence in the forest, the ocean, at a mountain top, or in the works of art and music that move you to an emotional response. With the idea of this movement of life we must understand that just as the blossoms in spiring inspire us so to does the passing of a life. The decay allows for the eventual rebirth of what is the essence of spirt and embodies how we are all a part of a larger and more complex living thing. We should come to trust this and to find comfort in the vast array of experiences the universe has to offer. This is without conclusion because all of these things will continue to grow and change and nothing will ever be quite the same again so we should embrace the experience of the moment at hand.

This post is dedicated to the memory of a friend. Trust the Unknown.

New Chemistry Experiements

I've been in the darkroom. So much fun!!! I've been playing with gum printing and emulsion coating on a nice, sturdy watercolor paper. I think the best part is that even though I have used these processes before, I have to rediscover them each time. That's the one thing that I truly love about the darkroom, the sense of magic and wonder I feel when something actually works.

Ron built a UV exposure unit for his screen printing and I'm finding it very useful for my alternative processes. It's so much handier to have a powerful source of UV light than the sun, particularly since it's very overcast in Kentucky right now. Gear is such a geeky thing to love, but I like chemistry experiments and playing with dangerous light. It makes me feel a little more alive.

My friend Ethel was my gracious model for these images that I'm doing the gum and emulsion prints with. She was a total trooper hiking through the woods with me and getting in awkward positions for my human connection to nature photography. I truly love the interaction with the model, it's a true collaboration. The shot above wouldn't have happened if she hadn't suggested putting the sticky thistle pod into the shot. I'd been carrying that thing for about an hour, dropping it multiple times, and starting to resent picking it up. It was a perfect contrast to the lush ferns and the beautiful tones and soft texture of her hand.