Indigenous Principles

The ways of harmony with nature and other human beings Until they were overpowered by warfare, ancient cultures developed worldviews, philosophies and lifestyles that were largely Earth-oriented and sustainable. While language, rituals and lifestyles differed across cultures, there was consistency in many of their beliefs. That these principles survive in places today is a testament […]

Mythic Dancing

A form of expression that unites persons, community, culture and cosmos Maya “Long Nose” dance. Dressed as the long-nosed Ek Chuah, God of merchants and patron of cacao, the dancer acts out the impregnation of Lady Xquic, daughter of a Xibalba (underworld) lord. The man on the left beats a drum. Ek Chuah has a […]

Spirit Lives On

Downtown on a playground A little girl saw a white man With a camera And she ran to him. Take my pitcher! Take my pitcher! Take my pitcher! She shouted. When photographing in other cultures The pointing of my camera Sometimes caused children to turn away And adults to turn their backs. What’s the difference […]

Spirit Lives On

Downtown on a playground A little girl saw a white man With a camera And she ran to him. Take my pitcher! Take my pitcher! Take my pitcher! She shouted. When photographing in other cultures The pointing of my camera Caused children to turn away And adults to turn their backs. What’s the difference I […]

The Sacred Cacao Tree

Genome researchers found that domestication of cacao originated in Central America about 3,600 years ago. Archaeologists found evidence of it dated to 1900 B.C. in the Pacific coastal plains of Guatemala and Chiapas where it was revered and traded by the Olmec. Izapa, a Late Formative Olmec site in Chiapas, was a particularly rich source […]

III. Color / It’s Social Significance

This is the third of 26 postings in the series, “The Aesthetic Dimensions.” The first, posted January 6, 2019, explains the series and deals with “Abstraction.” To follow, go to <davidlsmithcontemplativephotography.com> and click on “Follow” (bottom right corner of the Home page). The postings will show up in your mailbox every Sunday morning. Objectively speaking, […]

VII. Emphasis

As an aesthetic tool, “emphasis” shows one element standing out or apart from others. It can differ from them in subject matter, color, size, shape or placement within the frame. Whatever the difference, the exceptional element stands out as the center of interest. It’s the most important element and key to the image’s meaning. The […]

Appreciating The Aesthetic Dimensions

A blog series featuring form, line, color, contrast, texture, gradation… Television tower This posting begins a series that will focus on the aesthetic tools that visual artists and others use, singly and in combination, to create still and moving images that accomplish specific communication objectives. Knowing the purpose of an image before we pick up […]

Presentation

  Many years before I was introduced to the Ancient Maya, a little book by Erving Goffman entitled, “The Presentation Of Self In Everyday Life,” set me on the path of becoming an armchair anthropologist. Actually, it may have been his insights that sparked my later interest in the Maya, in part because their kings […]

Identity

  On another day this image could evoke a contemplation on birth, fertility or gestation. Today, because I’m seeing this chicken egg as the potential for an individual, it draws me into considerations of identity. It prompts me to ask, “Who am I?” I once heard a story about a prince who was asked this […]