Monthly Archive for July, 2011

Nature Writing, Procreation, and the Human Condition: an interview with Mike Freeman

Two weeks ago, The Fertile Source published Mike Freeman’s essay “Referential.” This week, he answers some questions about the writing life, nature writing, and procreation.

“Referential” is an essay that explores many parallel lines of thought. Among those lines of thought are the havoc that human habitation wreaks on nature; the fragility of nature but its ability to bounce back; and the fear you have, as an expectant father, that the world you’re bequeathing to your child is too damaged. How do you balance the tension of multiple lines of thought in your writing?

I’m not sure I’ve ever thought about that.  Like most people who write, I wish I had the talent to be a poet, as poets expel the most thought from the fewest words.  Emily Dickinson can braid multiple uncertainties into a few lines, thoughts that talented novelists take four-hundred pages to achieve, even then losing much clarity along the way.  Poets are additionally attractive for their penchant to ask questions rather than answer them.  Like Dickinson, people like Robert Frost and Wallace Stevens pose several of the questions that terrorize all people in compressed space.  They do all this best, it seems, with images, or descriptions of the living world, a vividness out of which their various themes emerge.  If I can’t be a poet, I’ve tried to mimic that use of imagery. 

You wrote “Referential” when your partner became pregnant rather quickly after you started trying, to both of your surprise. Despite the mutual decision to have children, your essay explores the feelings of ambivalence you had going forward, considering the world we live in. The sparse lines referencing those feelings speak volumes—the “newfound life burdening her womb.” Now that you have not one but two children, have some of your fears been resolved or have they been strengthened?

My parental experience has amplified every emotion, positive and negative, as I imagine is the case with most new mothers and fathers.  If my fears of what sort of world we’ll bestow were previously unsettling, they’ve ramified exponentially since our two daughters were born.  Keeping pace, however, is hope.  I have no idea what sort of world they’ll inherit, only that it will be different from the one in which I reared.  I hope, however, as that’s most of what I can do, that different won’t mean worse, that they’ll adapt to the changes accordingly and find happiness in the environment they inhabit.  This hope, in fact, has probably eclipsed the fear, which might be a great gift of parenthood.  Blind or no, without such hope mothers and fathers might be sunk.

Can you talk about what “nature writing” can offer for our understanding of the human condition, particularly as it relates to this ongoing project of bearing and raising young?

I’m probably not qualified to answer what the writing can offer, but will speak to what general observation – from which we create everything – might tell us.  People of both religious and secular philosophies are usually in violent agreement about the fundamental questions, something that a day observing nature can verify.  Most religions, for instance, have some variation of the Garden of Eden, a time when humanity wasn’t distinct from nature.  Pure evolutionists feel the same way, though they use a different route to get there.  Now, however, everyone has the sense that we exist in limbo, not entirely separate from nature but not entirely a part of it.  It’s quite difficult to imbibe any other feeling when immersed in nature, even for an hour.  One place where we both simultaneously diverge from nature while running parallel with it is procreation.  Biologists have a distilled, quite dull answer to the meaning of life.  “Life exists to replicate itself.”  While most of us feel there’s far more to it than that, this statement is indisputable.  All life reproduces, and watching many creatures raise their young gives you a great sense of kinship, along with the fantastic risks and exhaustion that parents experience in creating the next generation.  Humans, though, have been so successful that we now grapple with the ingrained urge to reproduce while having the sense that we need to limit that same urge.

You reference Adam and Eve in your essay. In Genesis 1, God charges Adam with taking care of the earth (“subduing” it, in the New International Version) but also to “be fruitful and multiply.” Can you explain some of your thoughts about how, as humans, we can balance our need to protect the world we live in with the imperative that seems built into our genes to “be fruitful and multiply”?

The Bible is difficult stuff.  Terrific stories, terrific themes, some dreadfully unfortunate phraseology.  We’ve had to subdue – or at least beat back – nature enough to enjoy the success we’ve had.  On the other hand, we’ve almost certainly overdone it, which now threatens our drive – whether genetically or religiously mandated – to be fruitful and multiply.  How we balance this I’m not sure, but voluntarily decreasing family size seems to be a good place to start, though I certainly have no desire to judge anyone who chooses to have a big family nor do I have authority to do so.

Another terrific story from Genesis is the Flood, which secularists share as well.  Lately, there seems to be a particularly high rate of apocalyptic prophesying, likely stemming from a collective intuition that humans have become too numerous, too corrupt, to live as they’ve been living.  Secularists point to global warning while those with religious inspiration tout some version of the End of Times.  Again, same anthropogenic catalyst, same catastrophic end, different narratives.  Most of us, then, no matter our background, feel the need to strike some sort of balance between our undeniable success and its impact on the world in which we live.  How that can be done, however, will be a trick, and an increasingly large amount of people seem to crave some sort of version of the Flood, to wipe us clean where we can start anew.  I’m not among these, but I do understand the sentiment.

How has fatherhood meshed with your career as a writer?

As I imagine is true with most new parents, fatherhood has cut away great chunks of time that I normally devoted to writing (and reading, which is of course a great portion of writing).  On the other hand, having children has taught me too much to ever have more than passing regret.  In addition, it certainly provides a great deal of new material.  Our oldest daughter, for instance, has autism, which at the outset is as alien a wilderness as any explorer ever experienced in the remotest corner of the globe.  People largely write, though, to try to understand what questions plague them, if not answer them, and writing has helped in some small way understand our family interplay.

Please tell us about your forthcoming book with SUNY Press.

The book is entitled “Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson”, and centers on a canoe trip I took down the Hudson River.  Karen became pregnant while I was living in Alaska.  We barely knew each other, and I quite abruptly left my home of ten years to come back east in lockstep with the Recession.  Needing a way to make money, or at least try, I proposed the idea of floating the Hudson to reflect upon its cultural influence, using that history to frame our most delicate current tensions – race, labor, energy use, pollution, gender politics, and others.  Throughout, a personal thread wrestles with the anxieties of stay-at-home parenting and family life in general.  The link is here.

The Power of Domestic Realism, Male Protaginists, and The Dual Degree: Mills and Motherhood with Writer Ethel Rohan

author headshot Ethel Rohan

Ethel Rohan

As a female reader, I find your short stories intimately rewarding because of a dual ferocity of vulnerability and strength that comes across in many of your main characters. Discussing your short story, “Gone” (published here  on The Fertile Source) in a recent Lit Pub dialogue (view full conversation here), you write, “I’ve never had cancer or a mastectomy or hysterectomy — so why would I tell this story? Once I realized I was telling this story because I “knew” the body butchered of its sexuality, I became convinced this was a story personally worth telling.” Can you talk more about your writing process—specifically, taking on the storyline of something you haven’t directly experienced, but certainly had enough parallel experience to ignite your writer’s will to formulate the finished story (as was the case with “Gone”)?

What a great question, thank you. I’m so glad you see both the vulnerability and strength of my main characters. My stories want to be about women who struggle and suffer. It’s an honor and privilege to give such women a voice and center-stage. Victims and survivors deserve to have their stories told. Unfortunately, there’s a pervasive sense that stories around women’s struggles and suffering are done to death and are irrelevant. I couldn’t disagree more. The challenge is to tell women’s stories in new and compelling ways so that readers cannot look away. The impulse to look away from suffering and the disturbing in life and in literature frustrates me. If we keep looking away, how can we ever hope to alleviate suffering, end abuse, persecution, and inequalities, and bring about positive change.

 Frankly, I try not to over-think my process. My stories are always character-driven and can be ignited by even the tiniest of phrases or observations. I’ll overhear a conversation on the bus or see something on the street and for reasons both known and unknown the words or image stay and give birth to another story. I don’t plot or plan my stories, ever, and I’m always so surprised and grateful to arrive at the finished work—something out of nothing, if you will.

 I no longer concern myself with worries regarding what stories I can or can’t tell. If I find a character and his or her story compelling I trust that sense of purpose and meaning and write down the words. Many of my stories, my earlier stories in particular, have male protagonists. This is also true of the novel manuscript I just finished. I think such writing impulses are for me an attempt, above all else, to better understand the opposite gender. As strange as it might sound, I also think my fascination with male protagonists ties into my devotion to women’s issues. I read and write fiction to know myself and others ever better and in that greater understanding of, and empathy for, what it is to be woman, man, and humankind lies the potential to end suffering.

 Along equally ferocious and illuminating leylines, your work dials deep into the heart of male/female relationships. Where do you see your writer’s obsessions/interests in this area, and which of the stories you’ve written surprised you the most (for where they arrived)? Any areas of that relationship (male/female) you see drawing your interest in the future?

 My parents’ marriage is the male/female relationship that has had the most profound affect on me, that and a five-year relationship with an abusive boyfriend. Thus far, my writing obsessions around male/female relationships center on bad marriages and domestic realism. My attempts at telling stories around abusive relationships have thus far been unsuccessful. I don’t seem to have the perspective yet to tell these stories well, but I will someday. Again, every story surprises me for where it arrives. I’m constantly amazed by the stories that come out of me and ever eager to know what other stories I have inside me waiting to get out.

Can you talk to us about The Good Men Project , how you became involved with them, and how you see your work in the context of their mission ?

 Matt Salesses is the fiction editor of The Good Men Project Magazine. Matt and I have a couple of things in common: We’re both winners of PANK’s 2010 Little Books contest and both have the same literary agent, Terra Chalberg. Matt was kind enough to blurb my PANK Little Book, Hard to Say, and thereafter invited me to submit a story for The Good Men Project. Matt rejected the first story I submitted saying, “I miss the rawness of the stories in Hard to Say.” The second story I submitted, Matt cut much of the writing and murdered many of my ‘darlings.’ The story is better for his editing though and I’m deeply grateful. As a writer, I’m a forever student.

 I’ve read and enjoyed many of the articles and stories in The Good Men Project Magazine since its inception and love the writers and work it publishes. I’m honored to contribute to the magazine and look forward to my story, “Out of the Wreckage,” which is now live on the site: http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/out-of-the-wreckage/.

 This excerpt is taken direct from The Good Men Project site and gives a good sense of who and what they are:

 “Recognizing changing roles in work and family life—and the absence of thoughtful media aimed at men—the Good Men Project Magazine set out to revolutionize what a men’s magazine can be. When we launched in June 2010 the response was immediate: “The Good Men Project Magazine will make you rethink the idea of a men’s magazine,” the press raved. Finally, “a cerebral, new media alternative” to glossy men’s magazines was born, offering a glimpse of “what enlightened masculinity might look like in the 21st century.”

 The Good Men Project began in 2009 as an anthology and documentary film featuring men’s stories about the defining moments in their lives. The goal was to foster a much-needed cultural conversation about manhood, and to support organizations that help at-risk boys. The Good Men Project has since grown into a thriving cross-platform media company, with the Good Men Project Magazine as its flagship and online hub.”

 You can read more about The Good Men Project here.

 Because we love to explore the topics of fertility, birth and pregnancy here at The Fertile Source, I wondered if you could talk to us about your relationship to writing before motherhood, as affected by pregnancy, and how your writing changes or has changed in the aftermath ensuing motherhood?

 I had just resigned from my job as personal assistant to a billionaire partner in a mergers and acquisitions firm and entered Mills College to at last gain a degree in English and Creative Writing when I discovered I was pregnant on our first daughter. After a moment’s pang of ‘oophs,’ my husband and I rejoiced in the news. My pregnancy wasn’t an obstacle to my writing and BA, but the realization of two dreams at once. It was also a time of two terrible and similar fears: What if I would fail as a writer? What if I would fail as a mother?     

 Pregnancy and giving birth to my daughter made me very aware of mortality and the passage of time. I realized I needed to stop procrastinating and just ‘do.’ It was difficult, almost impossible, to juggle motherhood, my studies and writing stories, but I never felt so motivated and rewarded. I had birthed a daughter and finally knew beyond all doubts and misgivings that I wanted to dedicate my life to her and to birthing stories.

 The beauty now of having two daughters and knowing that my family stops here is a deepening of my commitment to women’s issues both in my life and in my work. I’m a better person and a better writer because of my daughters. Because of them, I’ve come to know a depth and intensity of love I’d never experienced before. My daughters fill me with gladness and joy.   

 Any words of advice to other mother writers?

 My writing life only became routine and truly manageable when my youngest daughter started kindergarten. Since then, I dedicate at least six solid hours of my day to writing and the writing life and I’ve a lot of work both published and unpublished to show for that time. There are days I become overwhelmed and I admit I lose sight of what’s important and real. My daughters are all too familiar with the term “deadlines.” However, they also know they are my number one priority always and that the writing is secondary. The years pass quickly. Our daughters are already twelve and nine. I would say to other mother writers to simply do your best at both. Show up every day as a mother and a writer, but prioritize. At the end of my days, in a decision between holding my favorite books and holding my children, I know what I’d choose.  

 How does the mother/daughter dynamic figure into your work (forwards and backwards in time, with one’s own mother, and one’s daughters extending before one)? Are there further psychological aspects of that relationship you wish to explore as a writer?

 The thrust of my work centers on loss and absences and harks back to my mother. When I was a girl, I lost my mother to mental illness and she never fully recovered. My mother both fuels and haunts my imagination and much of my grief and sense of abandonment around her comes out in my stories. For a long time, I resisted mother/daughter stories, largely because they were painful, seemed repetitive and I didn’t have enough perspective to tell them well. Now I trust my voice and writing urges more and tell the stories that compel me and that I believe I can write well, regardless of content. If I’m condemned to tell mother/daughter stories for the rest of my days so be it, as long as they are stories that readers find worthwhile and meaningful.

 And for fun, can you talk to us about your cultural heritage—when you came to the states, how your writing life has been affected/blessed/challenged by your international lifestyle?

 I have lived in San Francisco for almost two decades and love my life here. America gave me a new beginning and a second chance at life and I’m deeply grateful. That said, I remain Irish at my core and love my homeland. My husband is also Irish and we return to Ireland every summer to visit family and friends. Our daughters love Ireland and beg us to move back there to live. It’s difficult for them to understand how different it is to visit a country versus live there. I’m sometimes sad for our daughters because they have no family here, none whatsoever. But we have terrific friends and a great neighborhood and community. I’m glad to have been born and raised in Ireland and glad to have moved to San Francisco where I can reap and enjoy the best of both cultures.

 Finally, any works in process—ie., your novel, etc., you’d like to tantalize us with a bit?

 I’m about to send my novel manuscript to my agent, Terra Chalberg. The novel is tentatively titled KISSES WITH TEETH and is set in Ireland in 1980 and centers on the Flynn family and in particular Gavin Flynn, a middle-aged, working-class Dublin City bus driver and his various demons.

Cut Through The Bone book cover by Ethel Rohan

by Ethel Rohan

Ethel Rohan is the author of Hard to Say, PANK, 2011 and Cut Through the Bone, Dark Sky Books, 2010, the latter named a 2010 Notable Story Collection by The Story Prize. Her work has or will appear in The Good Men Project, The Chattahoochee Review, Los Angeles Review, Potomac Review and Southeast Review Online among many others. She earned her MFA in fiction from Mills College, California. Raised in Dublin, Ireland, Ethel Rohan is now a resident of San Francisco, California. Visit her at ethelrohan.com  to read her most recent work.

Referential

 An essay by Mike Freeman

“It’s beautiful.”

 Four months pregnant, my partner Karen sat in the bow, the canoe gliding unfretfully as I took an occasional stroke.  She’d barely whispered, and didn’t specify her mark.  There wasn’t one outside the estuary itself.  I’d nearly forgotten that, what nature can do, take the air out of you for no other reason  beyond its own depths.  Across the marsh, the backloader’s long, hydraulic arm craned waste about the landfill, the joints squealing where they needed oil, and closer to us a cluster of Canada Geese murmured unalarmed from some vantage in the grass.  Far above, an osprey traced the swamp’s southern arm, while the post-rushhour traffic hummed along the interstate, the distant vehicles scarcely visible between a lattice of feral grape draped from a pair of hickories to our right, their half-turned leaves rotating the light of the late September sun.

It’s jumpable, Pine Creek, trickling beneath the highway, then bleeding into Long Island Sound on the Connecticut side.  Since the glaciers’ retreat, tides have routed a narrow canal around a treeless island, a half-mile square.  It’s unfloatable at low water, and Karen and I had been lucky, getting off the train from Grand Central then making the mile walk to my father’s, where we launched the canoe as the water crested, pushing it through the marsh grass and bobbing bottles and tattered Styrofoam.  After ten years in Southeast Alaska, I’d moved back a few months before, to Queens, and the canoe below and fragrant assertions of high-slack unbound skeins of fond memories, all drenched by hundreds of square miles where glacial mountains meet boreal rainforest meets littoral fecundity meets the Pacific, scarcely a trace charactered by human hands.

My father revels in Pine Creek.  Hemmed in by ocean to the south, a dump to the west, the interstate to the east, and the concentrate of beach houses to the north – including his own – the scant acreage provides his only access to the world he adores.  While out west I’d listen to his beleaguered recitations of the region’s waning life – scarcely a Baltimore oriole this season; haven’t heard a wood thrush in years; not a brown thrasher to be seen.  As a younger man these birds had been in relative abundance, but gradually fell away, he’d said, the way daylight dissipates from solstice to solstice.  These laments, though, were countered by other news, like an indigo bunting, its inky delight harrying a neighbor’s hedge, or the plaintive declination of an oven bird, put forth from the wild rose banking the creek across the way.  Coyotes, too, seemingly everywhere again, hunt the estuary for whitetail fawns and residual mayonnaise, and skunks fuss about his tiny lawn each night, sniffing recycling bins, digging for grubs.  His enthusiasm, then, while hobbled, is hardly repressible.

Karen’s back rose and fell, each salted breath feeding the newfound life burdening her womb.  I dipped the paddle for a lazy stroke, mulling the ambivalence wrought by our developing daughter.  What sort of world do we bequeath?  Doubtless a diminished one, I thought, watching Karen’s sight line trace an undulant tern, and perilous too, feeling foolish in the same breath.  These same questions vexed Adam and Eve, I imagined, or at least their secular counterparts.  Drifting amidst the clamp of macadam and diesel fume, though, air traffic and municipal waste, this tatter of swamp seemed the final thread of that prelapsarian vim.  The setting, then, deemed the inquiry pertinent.  I slipped the paddle in and drew it forward, my pregnant partner and I floating above the occluded water.

A quarter-mile off, a cloud of starlings materialized from the sedge beneath the dump berm.  They banked in concert, then again, and once more on approach before littering the grape tresses with anxious, iridescent forms.  Their manic chatter reigned down upon several mallards and a lone black duck, who fed amidst the high-bank grasses the tide afforded.  When our daughter turned our age we’d be eighty.  Forty years.  What rift, then, between our own baselines?  Birds with whom my father reared were scarcely known to me, but there was also a federal raptor bounty, and he marvels at the hawk life he now sees.  A moose was hit and killed not far from here the previous summer, and black bears, too, down from the north, have begun re-colonizing, like palmers to neglected shrines.  To Karen, Pine Creek is a refuge, where nature permeates you unencumbered.  To me, it’s an oversight, a tainted vestige.  After months within urban confines, however, that stance had weakened.  Terra firma, terra incognita – no two perspectives tread the same patch of land, even within a single mind, and how forty years’ of such revolutions would resolve remained a mystery.

While the past and future may inform the present, though, they never knock us out of it for long.  Where the marsh opens to sound, a pair of jet-skiers carved circles in the flooded delta, but Karen noticed something closer – dozens of needly fish broaching the marble of expulsed motor oils and gentle slack water.  Juvenile blue fish – or snappers – must have been frenzied below them, and I vaguely recalled their gray, brainy flesh, so different than a salmon’s.  We passed a black-crowned night heron, waiting out the tide in the island’s reeds.  Once the water had flushed away it would move to the flats, to raid the fiddler crabs come up from the mud.  Passing the last houses to our left, I looked up.

I hadn’t seen an oriole’s nest for ten years or more, but its bulbous, hang-drop form couldn’t be mistaken.  We slid beneath, and Karen asked what it was.  My naturalist’s love is governed by an amateur’s ken, and I didn’t know whether it was a Baltimore’s or orchard oriole’s, and said so.  It dangled from a cherry branch, while a moth dithered about the grassy stitchwork.  Two months’ abandoned, the delicate weave remained stout.  Not long ago birthy hatchlings peered from the hole that I now glided under, to get a glimpse of their newborn world.  I craned my neck as far as it would go, then righted myself.  Karen trailed a finger in the water, looking ahead where an amalgam of gulls lifted and lit as the backloader allowed, falling upon our remains.  The ocean, as it does, fell out of favor with the moon, and I steadied the canoe in its first subtle tug, saying, “It is beautiful.  Isn’t it?”

           

Mike Freeman lives in Newport, RI, with his wife and two daughters.  In September, 2011, the State University of New York (SUNY) Press will release his nonfiction book Drifting: Two Weeks on the Hudson, centered on a canoe trip down the Hudson River while reflecting on Recession-era America and the delicate frictions transforming its culture.

Read our interview with Mike Freeman conducted by Jessica Powers, Nature Writing, Procreation and The Human Condition: An Interview with Mike Freeman.

Fertile Variations: The Pregnant Body with Photographer Robyn Beattie

pregnant body, floral shadows
Fertile 1

pregnant body, many floral shadows

Fertile 2

 

pregnant body, octagonal tile pattern

Fertile 3

 

pregnant body, eggplant and gold hues

Fertile 4

 

 

 

 

 

In your artist’s statement (read in full here ), you state, “Most of my photographs reflect my fascination with the mysterious and with nature’s processes: the magic of seeds, birth and metamorphosis; the beauty in stain, death and decay. I am drawn to places like forgotten alleyways, dark cracks, holes in the road, and abandoned buildings. I look for shapes in the ashes of a fireplace, rusty metal, or broken glass. Many of my pieces are macro, small portions of something, rather than the whole item.” Many of your photographs focus on inanimate objects; so how do you go about photographing a pregnant woman? What is different about that process for you?

 When I photograph inanimate objects, I am often so close that I cannot see any of the surroundings or the background. With people, that is nearly impossible. I like working with fabrics as a background when photographing people, often using solid colors rather than patterns. The attributes of fabric that I like are the softness, the organic folds, the lack of straight edges.

Another factor that comes into play is the person’s face, their personality, and sometimes their modesty. So overall, I find it more challenging.

 How do you navigate the intimacy and privacy of your photo sessions with a pregnant woman?

 I think a lot of women and couples like the idea of being photographed outdoors, though it often involves less comfort, more vulnerability and lack of privacy. They often find the intimacy of their own home or yard, the comfort of a bed or couch, more relaxing. In contrast however, I once photographed a pregnant woman in a grove of bamboo, and the juxtaposition of the round belly with the upright bamboo stalks was very interesting.

 Does your interest in pregnancy photos extend beyond those couples who approach you for a session (do you foresee exploring other types of pregnancy photos—where would you see your work growing/changing in this area)?

 I am fascinated with the miracle of birth, knowing that it all starts with two tiny entities, so small they can only be seen through a microscope, finding each other, somehow, in the vastness of a womb. I have read that there is a flash of light when they meet, and bond. Fantastic, for me that is the miracle of life.

 The first and second photographs here, rich with patterns delicately shadowing the human form, are direct—only thinly veiled, so to speak. What did you discover in adapting the third and fourth photographs—the octagonal “tile” patterned version, as well as the more eggplant iridescent version?

 I have always loved the shadows that lace makes, and pairing that with the gorgeous pregnant body seems like a perfect match. The original photo that became what you so eloquently called “eggplant iridescent” is one of my favorite pregnancy photos. The simplicity of the image speaks volumes to me, and shows so unabashedly the beauty of a pregnant woman. It was fun to play in Photoshop, taking a piece that may have been too private/personal in its original form, yet wonderful in composition, and turn it into something more painterly.

 Who do you consider your photography mentors, or do you wish to discuss work you are inspired by?

 I did not have any photography mentors, but have always appreciated those whose work strove to simplify, to show the deep, core aspects of an experience. I have long been a fan of black and white photography, and am especially drawn to the work of Tina Modotti, Edward Weston, Imogen Cunningham, and Burton Pritzker, to name a few.

Robyn Beattie, Artist Statement:

I was born to bohemian parents of the San Francisco Beat era. Our family moved to the redwoods west of Healdsburg when I was five years old, and the dappled shadows of these giant trees was my home into adulthood. My father, Paul Beattie, was a recognized Abstract Expressionist. He often drew, sculpted, and painted for 16 hours a day, creating images that reflected his knowledge of astronomy and physics. His artworks continue to influence the way I see.

close up, Robyn Beattie's eye
Robyn Beattie

Other influences on my character include climbing Denali (aka Mt. McKinley), the highest mountain in North America; working as a naturalist guide in Costa Rica, where I also painted a 90-foot mural of the rain forest; and working as an archaeologist.

Most of my photographs reflect my fascination with the mysterious and with nature’s processes: the magic of seeds, birth and metamorphosis; the beauty in stain, death and decay. I am drawn to places like forgotten alleyways, dark cracks, holes in the road, and abandoned buildings. I look for shapes in the ashes of a fireplace, rusty metal, or broken glass. Many of my pieces are macro, small portions of something, rather than the whole item. Time seems to stand still when I am photographing. I often feel lost, absorbed in the moment, steeped in the awe I experience as I explore with my camera.

To view more of Robyn’s work, see her website: www.robynbeattie.com.

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