A Practise of the Heart
After a short break we’ve had in June, we invite you to our seventh E-Exhibition this year – A Practise of the Heart by Robert Bridges, which will be open till the 3rd of August, 2012 (to visit this gallery please click here).
— — —
It’s the seventh E-Exhibition this year and Robert’s images are miraculous; no wonder this reminded us of the Seven Wonders of the World – his photographs capture intimate moments, where that perfect light reveals Nature’s secrets and the viewer is left puzzled or even confused, uttering the ultimate question – is this real?
Below you will find seven questions, seven first letters of the alphabet and words that represent them. We hope that you will enjoy reading Robert’s answers, that should help you to see the world through his eyes.
A for Art. A famous Italian film director Federico Fellini once said “All art is autobiographical. The pearl is the oyster’s autobiography.” Would you agree? If so, what aspects of your life do your photographs reflect?
I like the metaphor and imagery of a pearl, however, I like better a poem by Kahil Gibran: “a pearl is a temple built by pain around a grain of sand. What longing built our bodies and around what grains?”
I don’t know what qualities Fellini understood to be “artistic.” So to respond to the question I would say that the artistic process as I experience it is organic and multi- dimensional – there is no line or boundary I can touch that tells me “oh this is life” or “oh, now this is art.” They are entwined. So in that sense, yes, all art is biographical.
B for Beginning. You have thirty years of taking photographs behind you, but lets get back to the beginning. Where does the love for photography stem from?
That’s a good choice of words. It stems from spending time in the garden with my grandmother. She loved flowers and I loved spending time with her. Those were saving moments of happiness, innocence, and trusted love. My grandfather used to spend much of his free time running around enjoying himself – trying to be a photographer. He was never any good but he tried hard and he had fun. These two people along with a few others helped save me from a life of crime and despair. My parents were no good at providing this for their lives were too filled with confusion and pain.
C for Composition. What would you say a good photograph is? What are the most important components?
Wow. Good question. I have no clue what a good photograph is. I try to have as few concepts of what a flower “should” look like as possible. Each image reflects what is possible for me to see on any given day – one cannot know what that will be and occasionally one experiences it as a moment of grace or joyfulness. These days what I go for is to be surprised, and/or delighted with what appears on the LCD. When that occurs it is time for me to thank the subject for it’s gift and move on. Many times I am tempted by greed to continue working a particular subject or do it again only “better.” I am finding that never seems to quite work so part of the process is letting go of clinging.
D for Drums. I know that the two muses, that make your life complete, are photography and music. Is it possible to determine which one is more important? Why drums and what kind of music do you like to listen to?
Yes. Time will determine which of the two is more important to me and I suspect that at least for a while it will prove to be whichever one I can no longer do first. When I
photograph I try to be aware of space and spatial relationships and one of the joys of drumming is finding and exploring the space between beats and hearing multiple spatial relationships. I grew up with country, blue grass, and gospel traditions buried in my zeitgeist. I came of age in the late 60’s and 70’s so that’s the music I listen too when I work on images. Right now I am learning to play the Shakere. This is an African gourd with beads or shells woven around it. I am hoping the physicality of the rhythms pulled from such an instrument will help keep me in shape.
E for Education. You are a very educated man – an expert in philosophy, theology and psychology. How did these studies shape your life and your views? And what is psychology of religion?
Recently, we had lunch with my old friend and former academic mentor. Bernie Spilka. Bernie is 87 and just finished a major book on the Psychology of Prayer. Since retiring he has completed enough graduate hours to complete two more doctorates in Biogenetics and god knows what else. Bernie is a learned man. I just went to school because I didn’t know what else to do at the time. I’m a seeker. I would say that at the time I was seeking something that might validate my experiences of living – You could say I was looking for love in all the wrong places. But the looking serves purpose and one is that it broadens the range and scope of the imagination by opening one’s mind to alternative ways of perceiving – of making sense of the world – and that, I think is very important for living a wholesome and creative life.
The psychology of religion studies the ways in which and through which Religion as a system of beliefs – as a world-view – as practiced by Christians manifests in human behaviors. In retrospect I was searching for religious experiences and what they meant. I was unable to see that all I needed to do was live from the heart instead of my head.
F for Focus. What do you focus on in life and in photography?
Relationships, beauty, gentleness, kindness, gratitude, joy, curiosity, love, light color, shape, space, balance, harmony, and play.
G for Gardens/Gardening. You love taking photographs of flowers, where does this usually happen? Have you got a garden of your own and have you got “green fingers”?
We live on a few acre’s of pasture land. Neither of us has a green thumb and while I’ve tried to grow stuff I might later photograph or eat – to no avail. I find people who have gardens and who will allow me to visit and photograph pretty much as I wish. I meet wonderful people this way and develop friendships but also sanctuaries where I can go when needed. Seems I have spent a great deal of my life in gardens, or parks or quiet little places where I can work and ponder life. Here, I mostly photograph at a beautiful B&B called Blue Lake Ranch.
Thank you, Robert. We wish you lots of perfect light for your beautiful photographs.
— — —