"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag
New Year’s Day 2024: Happy New Year!

New Year’s Day 2024: Happy New Year!

From “Creativity, Success, and Personality” in The Interior Landscape: The Landscape on Both Sides of the Camera by Guy Tal:

“Creativity is most rewarding not as something to practice ad hoc when making a photograph but as a general attitude toward life. A creative attitude may lead to the experience of flow, to occasional grand discoveries and meaningful breakthroughs, which is not the case when you follow familiar (convergent) recipes and templates aiming to produce predictable, preconceived outcomes. Put another way, the rewards of prioritizing creativity over success are ongoing and sustained. They grow cumulatively over time and may on occasion yield immense and unexpected rewards, even the possibility of enriching your life with new meaning.”

From “The Passing of the Year” by E. E. Cummings in Complete Poems, 1904-1962, edited by George J. Firmage:

The world outside is dark; my fire burns low;
All’s quiet, save the ticking of the clock
And rustling of the ruddy coals, that flock
Together, hot and red, to gleam and glow.
The sad old year is near his overthrow,
And all the world is waiting for the shock
That frees the new year from his dungeon lock. —
So the tense earth lies waiting in her snow.

Old year, I grieve that we should part so soon, —
The coals burn dully in the wavering light;
All sounds of joy to me seem out of tune, —
The tying embers creep from red to white,
They die. Clocks strike. Up leaps the great, glad moon!
Out peal the bells! Old year, — dear year, — good night!

From “Iseult la Belle” by Henry Reed in Henry Reed: Collected Poems, edited by Jon Stallworthy:

Though I drop back into oblivion, though I retreat
Into the soft, hoarse chant of the past, the unsoaring, dull
And songless harmony behind the screen of stone,
I do not age.
But I come, in whatever season, like a new year,
In such a vision as the open gates reveal
As you saunter into a courtyard, or enter a city,
And inside the city you carry another city,
Inside delight, delight.
And it seems you have borne me always, the love within you,
Under the ice of winter, hidden in darkness.
Winter on winter, frozen and unrevealing….

To flower in a sudden moment, the bloom held high towards heaven,
Steady in the glowing air the white and gleaming calyx.
Lightness of heart.


Well another year has bit the dust! If you’re reading this, you’re alive — and perhaps, like Iseult la Belle, you do not age!

For this post I had planned on writing a retrospective of 2023’s Christmas Project to describe some of my techniques and a few things I learned along the way — but, instead, I ended out un-decorating and de-glittering over the weekend to start the new year fresh and with a (reasonably) clean house. So I’ll still likely do the retro — but later this week or later than that. Stay tuned!

The first quotation up-top is from a book I just bought: The Interior Landscape: The Landscape on Both Sides of the Camera by Guy Tal. Like all of his books, this one explores the relationships between photography and creativity in incomparable ways, and would be an excellent addition to any photographer’s or artist’s library. I’m just starting the it, so — more on that later!

I chose the two poems above because they seemed to well-represent the transition between years: the first one a bit darkly, perhaps; the second one with flashes of delight. I often choose white flowers for a New Year’s post — and those I’ve included below were some I had taken in mid-December, after a couple of days of subfreezing temperatures. The first five are my favorites because of the desiccated leaves in the background or at the frame edges, leaves that gave off a rich orange/brown glow on a cloudy day and are actually leaves of lilies I had photographed previously. Old and new together: old lily leaves and new, white asters.

Thanks for taking a look!

And Happy New Year!


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