Stillness

Inside and outside, it’s the place where peace resides

Nothing in all creation is so like God as stillness.

 — Meister Eckhart, Christian mystic

Coming across this quote, I noticed that stillness has been and continues to be one of the prominent themes in my photography. When I go out with a camera, the word in my searching mind has long been “simplicity,” one of the aesthetic dimensions. Upon reflection, I see that a large part of the appeal of simplicity, that is, few visual elements, is stillness. The fewer the elements, the less there is to distract the eye. And this applies as much to life as it does to art. Both of these images convey a sense of stillness, but the one below has fewer elements—greater simplicity and an increased sense of stillness. 

Regarding Meister Eckhart’s quote, the greatest potential representation of the Divine in a photograph would be no visual elements at all. Consequently, no “image.” Of course, God, Infinite Intelligence, the Ground of All Being, Great Mystery or whatever name we choose cannot be imaged, that is, represented by anything physical or mental. At the same time, assuming a Creator that’s both imminent and transcendent of creation, everything in the cosmos is an expression of That. 

What breaks the paradox, for those who choose to see it, is that the hand of every artist, including God, is available to be seen in all their creations—simple or complex. It’s in this regard that St. Ignatius of Loyola challenged his “Jesuit” followers to “See God in all things.” It’s what my photography has been about since 1964. 

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I welcome your comments at <smithdl@fuse.net>

My portfolio site: DavidLSmithPhotography.com

My Photography Monographs

One thought on “Stillness

  1. I love the connection between art and stillness. It makes me think of how 9,999 times the volume of an atom is empty space, with 1/10,000th being the nucleus. The same can be said of space, as the term implies—it’s mostly empty.

    Like

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