Wednesday, December 29, 2010

These Legs are made for Dreaming

I am uncertain what was on the road that made the cobbles and puddle this orange colour. But it certainly caught my attention. The owners of the legs hurried past, kindly trying not to spoil my photograph. In so doing, they somehow made the shot. Sometimes the most extraordinary things can be seen in the most ordinary of circumstances. It’s quite a dreamy image, so naturally dreams come to mind! I was reminded of the film industry term, “legs”. If a film “has legs”, then it is considered to be a work that will last commercially. The film is likely to play in theatrical venues for longer than would normally be the case. The cult film “The Blues Brothers” was not initially a box office success. Yet it achieved a status that gave it “legs” and it remains popular some thirty years after its release. So if you dream of legs it might signify that something you are doing might be a lasting achievement. Are they your legs or someone elses? Where are you walking? Take all these things into consideration, but remember that legs are primarily for getting around. What is your path and where are the legs taking you?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Stop and think about the tree, the sky and yourself

It's not difficult to take this kind of shot, but you need to keep an eye on the exposure. At this time of year, these opportunities abound - but having the camera with you when the light is changing is most advantageous. And of course, you need to be able to stop and give it some time. Stopping and giving things time seems very difficult in these times. Everyone rushes around, filling in their day with many tasks. It takes a conscious effort to stop and pay attention to something that needs care. Many clients report being so pressurised at work, they "hardly have time to think". But everyone needs time to think and thinking about oneself is an unheard of luxury for many. Perhaps it easier for some people not to stop and think. Filling the day with tasks can be a defence against the needs, demands and requirements of the self. So here's an exercise. Stop what you are doing and look at the picture. What's the first thing that strikes you about the tree? Then think about yourself. What's the first thing that strikes you about your self?

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Concrete Temple

This structure has always been in the neighbourhood for as long as I have - although for a while I think it was removed for the building of new offices. It has no inscription, so I do not know how it came about. Perhaps a reader will know and will write to me. I like the formulation of Chevalier and Gheerbrant. Temples are earthly copies of heavenly archetypes - the human spirit is evident even though the works are usually dedicated to the Gods. Indeed, temples are the earthly dwelling of the Gods. They are both cosmic and human and so the temple-going individual's position is between the spiritual and the concrete. It is concrete in the sense of the actual because this curiously-sited small building is made from concrete. Even so, its dimensions are rather pleasing, probably because temples are designed to have a symbolic geometry. "The quadrangular ground plan, the squaring up of the temple is obtained by means of a circle radiating from the pins of a dial, which casts the shadow, which determines the four points of the compass - setting the bounds of space and time." (Chevalier and Gheerbrant, Penguin, 1996). Largely surrounded by call centres, this small temple is worth examination, if only because it somehow challenges its surroundings.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Iced to the Pavement

Every year this happens to a certain extent and I do like it. I take many shots like this because when the snow is gone and the residue it leaves behind is iced to the pavement, it does remind me of a laboratory specimen - like a cross section of what was before. The shot itself is a bit of luck. I had failed to reset a previously high ASA and the result was much better than other shots at the "correct" ASA. It looks very much like the cold weather is here to stay for a while so perhaps there will be more sights like this. Just when i feel I have used all the photographic potential of the neighbourhood, the weather changes and with it the light. Things are always changing but we don't really recognise it until something dramatic happens. The change can be imperceptible. In psychotherapy we try to observe these small changes and we will draw attention to them. otherwise they become lost to awareness.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Still Missing

Apologies to readers because there haven't been many blogs for a while. This is because of broadband difficulties, now resolved. I know readers do check in, so it was becoming worrisome to me. When I was out in the street this evening, I was reminded of a far more important absence. Some ten years ago, a young man went missing in my neighbourhood. Since then, there has been no trace of Trevor Deely. But his family and friends have never given up their search. I am periodically reminded he was never found and, perhaps because of the committed local campaign to find Trevor, I feel some kind of loss for someone I have not met. Loss is difficult to deal with. In the case of bereavement we know the person has departed and we have rituals and ceremonies to help us accept permanent absence. But when we do not know what has happened, it is perhaps harder to bear the pain of separation. Yet in these cases, hope also remains. This is a quote from the Facebook page "The (family) still keep up hope that he is alive, and although there is a service for Trevor Deely every year in a Naas church, they do not call it a memorial service." I hope it is established what happened to Trevor.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Signals in the Snow

It was not expected for the snow to stay this long. It's not normally the way. We always expect things to go on "normally as normal" and we get frustrated if they don't. We are also unprepared for events that are outside this "normal" zone. So when the snow comes in Ireland, especially in November, we are surprised. I was emerging from a book shop in Dawson Street and the snow had started to get heavy. As I rounded the corner onto Kildare Street, it had begun to cause difficulties, which the police officer was trying to sort out. There was much skidding and lack of traction. Buses couldn't deal with the inclines and came to a halt. Naturally, the world didn't come to an end, although the snow did cause inconvenience. Unexpected difficulties are part and parcel of a psychotherapist's work. But it's more about the client's capacity to deal with difficulties - because there will always be difficulties of some kind. The police officer is dealing with the difficulties by "getting on with things". We all have the capacity to do this, if only we but realised it. Sometimes we need a helping hand to mobilise what we already possess within ourselves.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Ground Level Projections

I think it was Walter Benjamin that drew my attention to aesthetics and the landscape. He argued that the notion of the picturesque only became available to the collective after the means to physically cross the particular landscape had been established.The sight of a mountain in your path may be pretty, but not if you are obliged to escape the territory and this entails crossing the obstacle. The snow is pretty when it first arrives and everyone is enthralled - but inside a week the novelty wears off and we are left with obstruction. This kind of shot is a matter of practice. The wide angle lens will usually take care of the focus, but the knack is in keeping the camera level when it is held so low that the viewfinder isn't really available to the user. Onlookers may think you are acting strangely of course but is that so bad? We spend a lot of time worrying about others and wondering what they are thinking about us. That is projection and belongs to you for the most part. A woman who was watching me and who who was clearly annoyed about local services exclaimed ".. and you should send these photos to the council .. !"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Marina: In Memoriam

Death of a much loved friend is very difficult to accept for all of us. It is of course a symbol and like most symbols, ambivalent. I have to acknowledge the permanent conclusion of a very positive thing, in this case, a person who meant a lot to me. I like to think of Death as the Daughter of the Night and the Sister of Sleep. For the person who has lived a good life, Death unlocks the Gates and admits them to the realm of light which is everlasting. That is Death as a symbol - and surely refers to cycles and regeneration. At the same time I am forced to accept that as a human being I am perishable and impermanent. The pain of the loss of my friend can only be endured. No talk of regeneration makes that any better for me. But I am here and I can try to move forward with the values and qualities I admired in my friend Marina.