Faces of The Divine
“Within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal ONE. And this deep power in which we exist and whose beatitude is all accessible to us is not only self-sufficing and perfect in every hour, but the act of seeing and the thing seen, the seer and the spectacle, the subject and the object, are one.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson
When I stand before a landscape, camera in hand, or later in processing, I am always compelled to ask myself: What attracted me here? It speaks to me, but what is it saying; is it the simplicity or the complexity of all the visual elements present that intrigues me? Is the color tugging at my emotions? Does the light lead me to a greater realization of its deeper meaning, or perhaps, there is a striking metaphor clearly obvious to me? Thus, in the perception of the landscape, may we reveal our truest selves, that which is always at the tip of our soul, just waiting for a moment to express itself.
As Emerson so eloquently expresses, the observer of the landscape and the landscape itself are but one. Thus, the landscape and the photographer are but manifestations of the same thing. Why does this matter, simply because in the perception of the landscape, we see ourselves as if in a mirror? And so, in truth, the landscape has a visual and sensory language all its own, which requires the artist to learn by heart, that they may speak that language in creating their work. Oh, but it’s a language with infinite dialects and correspondingly infinite manners of expression. Yet, it is a universal language, for as a grain of sand on the beach is only one of the trillions, it is nevertheless utterly unique upon careful and thoughtful examination.
Everyone has a story to tell, and our desire to tell that story manifests itself as a series of daily brushstrokes upon the canvas of each new day, an ever-evolving painting that becomes the masterpiece that is our life. It is a masterpiece, a legacy that is a gift to those who love and know us. As Pablo Picasso stated: “The Meaning of Life is to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away.” And what is art but the expression of the human experience in whatever form it may take? But above all, art is about healing, that process of seeking to become whole.
It was when Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities the question students asked him most was: Do you believe in God? And he always answered: I believe in the God of Spinoza. Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th-century philosophy, along with Descartes.
According to Spinoza, God would say: “Stop praying. I want you to go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.
“Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, and beaches.
That’s where I live, and there I express my love for you.”
Or, as Eckhart Tolle so eloquently observed:
“When you perceive nature, let there be spaces of no thought, no mind. When you approach nature in this way, it will respond to you and participate in the evolution of human and planetary consciousness. You need nature as your teacher to help you re-connect with Being.”
“But not only do you need nature, but it also needs you. When you recognize the sacredness, the beauty, the incredible stillness and dignity in which a flower or a tree exists, you add something to the flower or the tree. Through your recognition, and your awareness, nature, too, comes to know itself. Nature can bring you to stillness. That is its gift to you. When you perceive and join with nature in the field of stillness, that field becomes permeated with your awareness. That is your gift to nature. A great silent space holds all of nature in its embrace. It also holds you.”
So, I am here now. at this point in my life and photography, blessed with both a deeper embrace of the joy of living and perhaps, even more so, a pearl of experiential wisdom, if you will, of our inseparable connection to all living things and to each other. My photography has long since evolved through stages of refining my craft, arriving at last to a new dimension of awareness of the oneness of all things. In my work, I always endeavor to convey in images, words, and those things that cannot be expressed by either the energetic consciousness of a life transformed by the healing powers of the source, as it infinitely manifests in my relationship to the landscape. For it is in the communion with the Faces of the Divine that I, at last, found my healing.
Bruce W. Heinemann is a fine art landscape photographer, writer, publisher and speaker living in the San Juan Islands of Washington State. For over 35 years he has photographed and published branded, fine art landscape corporate calendars. He has also photographed and published nine coffee table books, two co-published with Barnes and Noble. In 1997, as a co-producer and cinematographer, he released a music video based on his coffee table book: The Art of Nature Reflections On The Grand Design, and narrated by Emmy-winning actor, Tom Skerrett. It went on to win a Gold Award at the 1997 Houston International Film Fest. and was syndicated to over 147 PBS stations around the country for broadcast. He continues to explore and photograph the beauty and mystery of the landscape and shares his work in books, music videos, and fine art, limited edition prints. For more information, please visit his website: https://thefineartofliving.art