Moment of Clarity - Doug Johnson

The title of the documentary "Leaning Into the Wind" comes from the movie's most dramatic scene where the artist Andy Goldsworthy literally leans into a howling wind that is trying to blow him away from the edge of a Scottish bluff. He repeatedly stumbles forward or is blown backward until he finally, briefly, triumphantly leans at just the right angle to balance the forces of wind and gravity.

“It’s beautiful, that moment where you are held there, suspended,” says Goldsworthy. “These are the moments I strive for in everything I do. It’s a moment of understanding and clarity in a very chaotic situation. A good work is a moment of clarity . . . then it all becomes unclear again.”

A moment of clarity -- what a wonderful thing! What would we do without these small victories over chaos and confusion? For me, a single moment of clarity allowed me to transform each of my photography projects from a muddled pile of images into a cohesive whole.

For years, I photographed anything and everything that caught my eye along a favorite beach in Maine -- sand, rocks, waves, birds, seaweed, flotsam, rusty metal, weathered wood, etc. Most of the images were OK but some of them stood out and became more meaningful over time. But why? What was the bond that united and elevated a few dozen of the countless images into a close-knit family.

And then it hit me -- the common thread was the portrayal of life's fragility! The elements of these beautiful, ephemeral scenes have been shaped by the invisible hand of nature to create a tiny, vulnerable world that will be gone in a few minutes or hours. Just like us.

And so unfolded my moment of clarity. This week's photo is a recent addition to the resulting "Set in Sand" series.

Now back to the chaos. ;-)


Wells Beach, ME; November, 2017

You can read the artist statement and see the full series here:

https://www.dojopico.org/Photography/Set-in-Sand/

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