As I look upon the post-processed images I often feel I have stepped into another life. A life separate from the hike that actually took place. As if I have been given a second life laid on top of the first where art, light, and shadow burst into life and I get to live the experience in some other fashion. I see the blues and blacks or deep yellows inside the photographs as if through Yellow Submarine glasses. Glasses that alter the reality of the land into patterns of shapes and highlights. Nothing is really the same in the image as it was on the trail. The other senses are suddenly shut down and my inner eye is the only thing firing on all cylinders.
I am also different, curled up under a blanket, nose deep into my smartphone. I am pouring back out within a very tight focus, what the trail poured in.
I see the four Beatles long-legged images from the Yellow Submarine poster flash through my mind. The psychedelic movie and madcap song that have nothing to do with dirt trails, but in my artistic mind they seem connected. I am distorting the image, the way their music often distorted our minds. A little Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds again. Nothing is as it seems.
I am there in the image, as I was when I took it, but I am also not there now, as the image has a life of its own separate from the hike. I am hearing birds and feeling the frost, but as I tweak the image I hear Ringo Starr’s throatier voice proclaiming that we all do live in a yellow submarine.
The beauty of all creative endeavors is they shift our focus, even if only briefly, from what we believe is real, to what is also real, but must be powered by our psycho-emotive-spiritual energy. My creative world is no less real to me than the feeling of cliff face beneath my hand.
A few years back my friend, Juan Crocco in Chile turned me onto photography. Up until then photography was for me just people standing by monuments taking pictures of themselves or photo albums filled with images of children opening up Christmas presents. I didn’t even own a camera and hadn’t taken an a photograph in over a decade. I’m not particularly nostalgic, so have never spent much time looking at photo albums. In my last couple of house moves I had, in fact, jettisoned ninety percent of my photographs and albums.
Juan encouraged me to take photographs while hiking as a mindfulness exercise. I was going through a rough patch and he thought this might help. Wise man. It did more than help. It healed me.
I interact with images taken not as an observer to what had been there, but what I might find now. I am on a treasure hunt. Seeking shadows and reflected light. There’s a conversation going on between myself and the image. I am not cataloging my hikes. I’m talking to myself in symbols and abstractions that affect me deeply at an emotional level. Thus, for me, photography isn’t about what was there, so much as it is about what is now inside me being viewed through the effected image. An inner art I am not aware of until I begin to work with the image. It’s this crazy blending of photography and my own personal mojo that creates something else entirely in the end. I live the joy of the hike and then I live the joy of the art.
This pattern, now rooted in me, has become a pattern of living and altering, experiencing and awakening. It has been growing like prairie weeds out of the images and into my day to day life. There is what is here in this moment, physically and then there is what is in this moment more abstractly. The things in my life that live as highlights on the edges of things. Shadows that create contrast not darkness or fear. I want to alter my vision. Don my Yellow Submarine glasses and see that world from some other angle entirely. To live with a little psychedelic energy in my soul. Not through drugs or other altering substances but through the spirit in me. The bigger eye that sees so deeply into things the things I look at deeply change.
“In the town where I was born
Lived a man who sailed to sea
And he told us of his life
In the land of submarines
So we sailed up to the sun
Till we found the sea of green
And we lived beneath the waves
In our yellow submarine”
“Yellow Submarine” by the Beatles, album cover art by George Martin
18 thoughts on “Yellow Submarine”
Good for you, my friend. And I like the last two shots a lot. Cheers.
Always a blessing to have you stop by, my friend. The last two are my favorites as well. A final reward for having read my piece. I have to say I was thinking of you this morning. No time to comment, but was thinking about several images you posted. You have truly grown and deepened as an artist/photographer. There is such a complexity to your work of late. Really enjoying watching it blossom.
Thanks, Noelle. Let’s keep growing and stay focused on the outside and the inside…
What a great journey Noelle 💛
It really is, isn’t it? And oh, how many incarnations have we had in just this lifetime alone to discover that.
Thank you for this profound entry. Sometimes you seem to lift off the planet for a while on spirit’s wings. Happy Travels
Maybe not wings… maybe 1970’s platform shoes!
Such a beautiful way to connect to the present. Juan was wise and your photos reflect this gift. It is always so refreshing to read your posts Noelle.
You are a love, my friend. The feeling is mutual.
& human are at one
it’s like a magical
or not 🙂
So true, my friend. I have come to note that many bloggers are of that ilk. Psychedelic people who want to let their minds wander off from the tried and true trails.
This is such a very powerful testament to the art you create with your eye and camera Noelle, and because of it I am moved to practise myself. I have a pitifully small collection of photographs taken over the years with my old Nikkormat SLR, and none of them are yet converted to digital format. You have inspired me into creating a new hobby, and I only hope I can be half as successful as yourself in my output. With gratitude and respect for your exceptional art, Hariod.
If you have a smartphone play with it a little. It’s amazing the technology in them and how incredible the images can be. Juan said “You can never be in any other moment then the present one when taking a photograph.” It’s proven to be a powerful mindfulness tool. If I’m agitated or disturbed by anything I go for a walk or a hike and just look for things to take pictures of. Within a very short period of time I’ve calmed down and relaxed. Try it.
Will do Noelle; although I will have to buy a camera as my phone is anything but smart.
I loved this and also the incredible photos that accompany it. And what a wonderful way to interact with your art. This gives me an entirely new perspective on taking photos and I can’t wait to get out there and try this delightful sounding adventure seeking mindfulness exercise for myself.
Oh you must definitely try it. With your creative mind I think you will have so much fun. Now with digital cameras and phones you don’t have to worry about wasting anything. Take a hundred shots if you wish and just delete what you don’t like. No fuss, no muss. Send me something if you do decide to give it a whirl. Also, almost all phones, ipads and so forth have editing tools, so you can edit your own images fairly simply to begin. What fun!
I agree with Julia, this was a neat exercise of an interaction with art and music.
I had the fortune to take a Beatles tour the last time I was in Liverpool (if you ever do this, do the cab one, not the bus one). It was a great experience, and it opened my eyes to the meaning behind a lot of their songs (I had previously only superficially understood the lyrics).
Live with a little psychedelic spirit in your soul indeed. 🙂
I’ve never taken this tour, but sounds awesome. When I was in London I did the tour of Churchill’s bunker which is still exactly as it was the day the war ended. Really fascinating what you understand by suddenly being in the shoes of those people in that time frame. I’ll remember this next time I’m over there. Thanks for stopping by, my friend.