Tag Archives: photography

106. Sharp and Soft (Juxtaposition 6)

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I often wonder if the beauty of a rose would be quite so beautiful, or seem so soft and serene, if it were not next to sharp and solid thorns, capable of tearing and wounding. The difference between the flower and its protectors is brought into even closer focus by their nearness to one another. Would a rose, by any smoother stem, smell as sweet?

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

104. Hard and Soft (Juxtaposition 4)

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A small blue thing, as Suzanne Vega might sing, sits in my hand, stony against flesh. One is tappable solidity, the other pliable softness. But which is more fragile?

I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” (Ezekiel 36:26 NIV)

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

103. Light and Shadow (Juxtaposition 3)

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Light and its absence create a powerful striping across any subject. How different we look and sometimes feel in the brightness, as opposed to the dark. We long, don’t we, for the cool of shade when we are hot or blinded by the sun, and conversely, for the warmth and comfort of the sunlight, during dull grey days.

text and photo © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

80. Earth Mother (Empathy, Lent 21)

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I have realised a painful thing about these posts. Whilst it’s true that I am trying to look at points of view that are difficult for me, with a few of them I think I might be choosing people I secretly want to take the rise out of. I think a little of that is coming out in the writing. Maybe that’s understandable up to a point, but real empathy wouldn’t do that. So, I need to watch myself. Interesting, isn’t it, that in compassion for others the person we need to be judging is our self?

We had Mother’s Day in the UK yesterday. It’s a tough day for lots of people, for a myriad of reasons. I won’t bore you with mine. But when I think about mothers, and what I don’t understand about some of them, it is that whole “my amazing experience of this is superior to anything you could possibly grasp” attitude. It’s fairly rare in that form, thank goodness, but I find it hard to stomach. So, here’s my (hopefully rise free) attempt to “borrow” that sight.

I feel like I’ve had this incredible experience that is right at the heart of the world’s meaning, and nobody talks about it. Giving birth was not just a physical thing for me, it felt like a spiritual release as well. It opened up something in my heart and mind and centre that I am struggling to quantify or articulate. It was so life-changing. So much joy and wonder and pain all at the same time. Like an epiphany. And it has made me different. And that’s why I talk about it so much. You know how some religious people go on and on about their conversion? It’s really like that. I can’t help myself. I feel like someone let me in on the deep secrets of the cosmos, and I try to tell people about it, and they mostly just roll their eyes. It would be so great if I could process this into language or art, and get others to understand. But all I get is, “Get over yourself,” or “You’re not the only woman who ever gave birth, you know!” As though I didn’t know that! Women’s wisdom and insight is so unappreciated, and this is a source of grief that dampens this incredible joy in my soul.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

75. Cold Fish (Empathy, Lent 16)

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This is a horrid thing to call someone, isn’t it? It’s not a phrase I use very often, but as a highly sensitive person who feels deep and complex emotions about pretty much everything, people who aren’t moved easily are really hard for me to understand or connect with. If I hadn’t been poor and ill after my degree, I might have gone on to academia, but looking back I am glad I didn’t. I have learnt to develop emotional freedom, I wear my heart on my sleeve, and passion does not often translate well to such fields. Today I’m wondering what it might be like to have let logic override wholeness.

If I got worked up about things, it would affect my results horribly and I’d be accused of letting my hormones get in the way. So, I keep all my feelings at bay and just look at the words as though I were looking at germs through a microscope. I was brought up at an emotional distance and it suited me just fine. Histrionics are an anathema to me. First sign of Mediterranean passion or a temper tantrum and you are in danger of losing the plot, and me.

It’s not that I don’t feel things, but it’s better to train yourself to hide what you feel, and to minimise it where possible. For instance, I love my kids hugely, you wouldn’t believe how much, but I know that to bring them up well, great demonstrative gestures are not a good example to set them. If you fling it all out there, people can hurt you. If you lay your heart before someone, sooner or later they will trample on it. Best to stay cool, calm, collected, and let everything else out in my tae kwon do. Control is everything. Focus is undistracted and sharp, like steel.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

59. Potential

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So, we have spent the past fortnight looking at how to see with potential in mind. It has shown us that whilst some things have an obvious potential, like a bud or a seed, other things are less obvious in showing us what they might turn out to be. Some things can go either way, having, like us and our actions, the potential for good or harm. Some things that seem as though they might be wonderful, end up a mess, and others that seem like nothing much can come of them become truly awe-inspiring. When looking at something, we need to hold that spectrum of potential in balance. Holding space around a paradox is difficult, but more and more I think it is part of spiritual maturity.

What’s more, spotting that potential is also part of a new kind of seeing, if we are looking for it. I picked up the book pictured in the local library on a rare trip out of the house, simply because the cover was so unbelievably drab, that I thought, the insides must be either amazing, or dull too! And my hopes were rewarded, as I have now discovered a wondrous writer I had never heard of before. I did judge a book by its cover, but not the way that the world usually does, and it paid off.

Throughout Lent we shall be continuing to look at new sight, but for the whole time on one theme, that of empathy, especially, how we can look at things through the eyes of another, rather than solely through our own.

N.B. I shall no longer be posting on a Sunday (I have posted, but not written on a Sunday this year, but even bloggers need a breathing space) and it will keep Lent to the traditional forty days.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

 

58. Specs (potential)

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I need new glasses. I have got to that point where middle age has suddenly made all the print on packets and labels shrink so small that I can’t make it out at all. I have a magnifying glass slipped into my Bible, and it’s getting harder and harder to paint detail or read. Thank goodness in Word I can make the font as big as a house and nobody needs to know.

But as well as the physical energy required to have an eye test even at home (and that’s before I think about the cost), there is a little bit of fear mixed in to what new glasses and new sight might bring. What if it makes everything loom large and I can see all my mistakes in glorious detail? What if I don’t like this new, bright world that might appear? What if I prefer the way things look through a squint? I know these fears are daft, especially as I’m so fortunate as to live in a country where there is eye care so readily available, but any kind of new seeing has the potential to be both a good thing, and to bring new difficulties. Once you start to see clearly, it changes how you think. Jesus knew this, and spoke about the renewal of our spiritual sight often. Well, maybe it is time to embrace his words, and get the lamp of my soul seen to. Maybe a whole new vista will open up to me.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

57. Rain (potential)

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If you are a pluviophile like me, you don’t just not mind the rain, you love it. It seems bizarre that the weather forecasters talk about it so negatively, and that other people find it a miserable thing. I love the sound that it makes and the torrid abandonment of its falling. When I was well I used to dance and sing in it (and not just because I was a little bit in love with Gene Kelly). I would relish walking and running in the rain.

These days, I’m very rarely outside, but I do love to watch the rain, and to hear it thudding down. It keeps the power tools in their sheds and other noises at bay. But rain does have the potential to spoil days as well as make them, however much we love or need it. No-one likes rain on their wedding day, or when they have planned a picnic. Like holding a fuzzy filter over this photo, rain does create a sheen over the day’s events, and curtail what we might do with our time, even though it also sometimes brings us the joy of a promise bow in the sky.

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

56. White House (potential)

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This white house, a blank canvas edged with trees, visible from my back garden, always seems bright with possibilities to me. I don’t know who lives there, and it’s certainly not a president, but the wall has never succumbed to graffiti (quite an achievement round here) and it has never looked grubby, or at least, not in the bright sunshine. I have a photographer friend, Dianne, who takes pictures of a white house in farmland, it is like a muse to her, and she takes so many varied shots of it, surrounded by autumn foliage, lost in snow, baking in the golden glow of hayfields on a summer’s day, and they are all beautiful.

Light and framing are crucial in photography, and in all our acts of seeing too. White is so good at reflecting different moods and colours directed at it, and maybe for that reason it bends to the will of the artist or the photographer that little bit more easily than darker colours which absorb the light. Perhaps the same might be said of us, that whatever colour we might be (of skin or politics) the better we reflect God, the more potential we have to shine for him, rather than lapsing into self-absorbment.

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017

51. Magnus (potential)

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Magnus Magnoliason is about to peg it, by the looks of him. This is very sad for us as we’ve been looking after him for over a year now and we had high hopes of his growing into a proper plant, hatched as he was from seed kept refrigerated carefully and planted out as per the RHS’s instructions. But we forgot to put him outside in September, and since then he has just wilted and gone brown. My husband is now convinced he’s not a magnolia at all, but Japanese Knotweed, or something equally sly. He may well be right.

I am not good at giving up on things (or people) generally, and so I have determined to plant Magnus out in a nice pot as soon as Spring comes. It will either kill him off completely, or be his saving grace. He has the potential for life and death in him. Those few cells of green could take him over, or fade away. I am foolish to hope, I know, but we all need as many chances as possible to come to life, don’t we?

 

Photo and text © Keren Dibbens-Wyatt 2017