Love, hopes and dreams – the enduring melancholy of autumn. (In memory of Jeanne Claude)

I love autumn!  I especially appreciate the season in the northern hemisphere where I am now.  Perhaps I am the only person in town that really gets excited when the fog settles in and the landscape becomes a monochromatic vision of melancholy. I find autumn a romantic season, a time that makes me feel nostalgic for past loves and dreams.  Today I photographed trees who in their silent beauty, embodied the passing of the season, and was reminded of the simple perfection in which Tang poetry celebrates the emotions of each season. 

This post is dedicated to the memory of Jeanne Claude (1935-2009), thank you for the inspiration.

Autumn Air

The autumn air is clear,
The autumn moon is bright.
Fallen leaves gather and scatter,
The jackdaw perches and starts anew.
We think of each other- when will we meet?
This hour, this night, my feelings are hard.

Li Bai (701 – 762)

all photos copyright  R.W. Schatz

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Forever young!

I have been editing my photographs again and I came across this portrait that I took in Brussels this year. This young Romani boy came up to us in the main square of the town, I took his picture and now I often wonder what his life will be like. I was listening to Bob Dylan as I was fixing the photo, the song that was playing on the iPod just seemed to fit and I do hope, he’ll stay forever young!

May you grow up to be righteous,
May you grow up to be true,
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you.
May you always be courageous,
Stand upright and be strong,
May you stay forever young,
Forever young, forever young,
May you stay forever young.

Bob Dylan 1973

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The reality of perception

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see. Henry David Thoreau

As I am currently spending my time in Switzerland, I have left my paint brushes behind and have focused on creating works with my camera.  I like using photography as a visual language, as it allows me to ‘sketch’ quickly and I do not need a lot of studio space to finish the compositions.

During my stay I have been reading books that explore the perception of reality. This includes works by Paulo Coelho, Norbert Bischof and Horst Herrmann plus I have been able to add a couple of Chinese and Japanese poetry books to my collection. The one thing that these books all have in common, is that they challenge our understanding of what is ‘real’.  As Albert Einstein put it, ‘Reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.’ 

Working with a camera also gives the illusion of being real; the camera as a witness, the camera never lies!  This is of course a paradox, as the camera only produces an abstraction of the real and thus only leaves an impression of what the photographer has selected.   A viewer of the image will bring his/her own perception of reality to the work and the reading of the image changes again.

The works that I have produced so far, use the camera as an unreliable witness and explore this shift in reality.  I have devised a formula that can be used to interpret the images:

Time + Space + Perception = Reality

 I am now starting to curate the works and explore the narrative possibilities by juxtaposing the images.  The resulting story-line will always be a personal one.

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