Finding ourselves in Nature...reflecting on the faces of spirit.

Human beings, more or less, possess external bilateral symmetry. Scientifically speaking we are also attracted to symmetry. Some theories suggest this attraction is due to our assessment of physical health in those we are looking at. Whether this is true or not has not been definitively determined. However, I think it is safe to argue that our holistic health can depend on how well we know ourselves.  It is generally accepted that an individual can achieve some of this self- knowledge through the acts of reflection and projection. We see the things that are happening around us through our personal lens. All that we process filters through our personal experience and perspective. This filter causes some of the most interesting results of the creative process. Observing the external world, internalizing experience, reflecting, processing the internal and external then finally directing the abstracted through a medium result in a reflection of the artist manifest. That reflection is symmetrical to who the artist is, by way of its reflexive nature.

It seems natural to me that an artist working, even at a basic level, with symmetry would find their own natural symmetry reflected in their work. I believe this is why we creatively surmise faces in abstracted symmetry. People can easily find faces in most patterns but I think this is partially due to an obsession with ease and efficiency in perception and processing of stimuli. It is also conceptually tied up in our mind's desire to create patterns- bilateral symmetry being one of the simplest patterns available. Because we have bilateral symmetry ourselves, I think we see these faces readily as it is a way to psychologically identify with the natural world.

A number of my reflected images have presented faces and bilateral beings very clearly. It is always unexpected and entertaining.

I had this wonderful photo of driftwood, water and stones that I took while camping on Mooselookmeguntic Lake in the Western Mountains of Maine. I chose to mirror this image for the colors, texture, reflective surface and the angle of the driftwood. That angle makes a line that will become diamond-like when reflected quadrilaterally.  Diamonds are dynamic in patterns and provide a focal point that guides the viewer's eye. I was curious how it would play out.

driftwood web.jpg

I love the moths that appear on the left and right sides of this collage...but look at this guy at the top and bottom of the collage.

I am often foolish and have become so fond of the face, I named him Drift Punk. (Also, I am old enough to make ridiculous puns far too often.)  I will let you think what you want about his projected personality but I project that he fancies himself a bad-ass.

Another one of my favorite face discoveries involves a magical oak tree in Carmel Valley. This was, again, completely unintentional and reveled what really seems like the spirit of the tree. 


This face is less obvious. If you haven't noticed him, his nose is sketched out by the medium size branches that mirror in the negative space between the trunks of the tree. His eyes are wispy and distant.


This image derives from a photo of clouds over Point Reyes.  Using the same quadrilateral mirroring technique and then extracting smaller sections of the image and multiplying them result in a collage that I call "The Making of Wolves".

It is really amazing what you can discover after perceiving a view worthy of photographing, determining the light you want and the camera angle, cropping the image with the frame of the lens, processing the colors and setting filters (if necessary) and positioning the image with the most pattern-promising sides reflected against each other.  Then the story unfolds...the place and the subjects begin to speak, again through our internal filters. Where was the photo taken, of what was it taken? These answers lend exclusivity to the result. This image could only come from the specific place and subject, adding to it a distinct lore. The lore becomes mythical when the viewer reflects on the image and sees their own projections of bilateral symmetry, in an attempt to identify, creating spirits of the land specific. Here, reflect on this waterfall...

Enya LathamComment