Some dreams can be almost like an episode of a TV show. Maybe a drama, or a sitcom, or in my case an old western. Other dreams resemble a horror movie or a Tim Burton movie (nightmare?). Still others bring back memories of peaceful days spent in fields of flowers, or next to a quiet country pond. Some dreams are filled with friends or family, and others with strangers or even people we’d like to forget.
For me, most of my dreams are private. In fact, I struggle to remember many of my dreams, so they cannot be anything but private. No matter what the subject, whether I can remember it or not, the mood I wake up with will (I believe) reflect what has happened in my dreams the night before. Quite possibly, the dreams themselves reflect what happened the day before.
I believe that creative photographers will often echo their dreams (night and daydreams), through their images. Maybe not specifically in the subjects they photograph, but in the style or mood that is present in the finished image. I know, that my dreams the night before, even when I did not remember the specific happenings in those dreams, have affected my finished images the next morning. I could feel it in my bones. Can you?
Scientists, especially psychologists/psychiatrists ( I use the term scientist loosely here), have made much of dreams and what they mean. The question (for me) becomes, are our dreams what we are, or are we our dreams? The chicken or the egg, so to speak.
In any case, when we create pictures, or view the images made by others, I think it behooves us to examine what happened the night before. It just might be that our dreams, evolve from the our most creative thoughts and instincts.
I of course have no idea what dreams, if any, were had by the photographers who made today’s pictures. I am just betting, that at least on some occasions, dreams (day or night), led to the vision, or the creative decisions of these photographers.
Philipp Dase made this picture of a sunset skyline in Kiev, in the Ukraine. Simple visions of where we live and what we’ve seen, can become powerful images.
A pretty innocuous subject aye? Mani Sharan created this simple image of barbed wire and the rising sun.
I love images like this! Justin Reznick made this simple but powerful Image of White Pocket, in the Vermillion Cliffs of Arizona. I don’t know if Justin dreams of locations like this but I sure do.
Photographic artist Ian Plant made this “dreamy” picture of a volcanic crater in Java, Indonesia. Superb!!
Tim Burton? Actually this ‘dreamscape” was a manifestation of the imagination and skills of Uta Morg.
Now come on, doesn’t this Velpula Finney image look exactly what a dream might look like. I don’t know where this was made or if dreams had anything to do Velpula’s vision, but it is a very seductive image.
I will not attempt to pretend that the antiquated images below, which are mine, should be displayed with the ’fine art” you see above. None the less, they are mine and some were successful in the “olden days”. Besides, known more about my pictures, as well as my dreams, than I do anybody else’s.
As has been the norm with me over the past few years, when I choose images to display on this blog, I generally make my selection by opening a few folders, and figuratively throwing some darts at the rows of photos. Whatever sticks is what you see. That’s not being very scientific or artistic in the selection process, but it’s fun and it challenges me to first remember the making of the picture, and then to find something worth saying about it. Of course when a post is subject oriented, such a herons, or mammals, or locations, I then get more specific about my selections.
Is pre-visualization a form of dreaming? I have spent my entire adult life pre-visualizing photos. The percentage of the images I have made, that have previously appeared in my mind, are astonishing. Be they simple little images of common subjects, big spectacular pictures of major subjects, literal views or abstract visions, most first occurred in my mind, before on film or in a digital file. Did I first dream the images below on a dark winter’s night? I don’t know, but at the very least, they were daydreams before they became real.
Many might think that pre-visualized images come from landscape, macro or abstract photographers. In my opinion, no outdoor photographer daydreams or night dreams future pictures any more than a wildlife photographer. I was no different when it came to my wildlife photography. Like most photographers of that ilk, I often found visions of rare or seldom seen species, or spectacular action pictures racing through my brain. I likely dreamed many a shot of a hawk catching its prey. I brought some of my ‘dreams” to fruition, with the help of my subjects. Just the same, it was really a precious few when it was all said and done. Luckily, the visions that raced through my brain were also those of simple images of common animals. A full body portrait of a male Northern Cardinal, and several dozen other common birds. A forest shot of a woodpecker, and other daily visitors to that habitat.
While noteworthy apparitions of images of flying flocks (say that three times quickly), of California Condors may have appeared in my brain, I often settled for groups of Bonaparte’s Gulls. I admit I did always have an image of a hawk, or perhaps a Bald Eagle hovering and looking down, with only its beak showing from behind. I was happy to settle for a Forster’s Tern instead.
For many years I had only two brief photographic (film) encounters with Red Foxes. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, I was besieged with the critters. Then visions and most likely dreams, of foxes at different stages of life, of mom or pop with their kits occupied my mind on a daily (or nightly) basis.
I love old buildings and for much of my life, my daydreams and I am sure my night dreams as well, were filled with me wandering around in old houses or ancient ruins. I could feel the presence of those who there when they were built. I would feel like I was a part of that. In the mid 1970s I began searching and photographing such locations. One daydream I had of old Spanish ruins, glistening of red rock against a smooth blue sky, texture against purity, came to be true in the 1990s in New Mexico.
The first western rock park I visited was as a child while traveling with my parents. I’ve not only since then visited other such locations in the American west, but I’ve returned to the Badlands of South Dakota many times. I’ve made pictures here in three formats and sizes of film, and on several occasions with a digital camera. I’ve photographed this place in all kinds of light and weather. I’ve created many “sparse” landscape photos, and many busy ones with edge to edge rock. Many traditional calendars shots, and many abstractions. Over the years, I’ve often wonder how the Badlands are doing when I am not there, and I have little doubt that I have from time to time pictured them in my dreams. The first image you see below was made in the 1990s on film, and the second in 2006 in the digital format under some brilliant low-level light.
When I finished making the film image of those Spanish/Indian ruins in New Mexico, I found one of the few true oasis I have ever photographed, about fifty miles down the road. This 6×7 cm film image is a bit confusing and for good reason. This was a visually confusing place, with a strange beauty to it. My goal was to bring some order to the scene, without finding so much order that it failed to tell the story.
Macro photography may be my favorite form of outdoor image making, and visions of pictures to come, have been dancing through my brain since I got my first close-up gear in 1975.
I love the patterns that leaves display and there is nothing better than a red autumn leaf with frost. The veins in this subject allow us (the viewers) to take a journey through nature. A miniature journey. There are so many compositional attitudes to discover and share.
If macro photography is one of my favorite artistic endeavors, than flowers will forever be among my favorite subjects. From one tiny edge of one single petal held in sharpness, to a ground cover of small Phlox flowers, this is our most versatile (from a compositional standpoint) subject. I have spent countless hours with flowers, especially wildflowers. I can tell you with certainty, that I have drifted to sleep at night, with visions of flower photos dancing in my head. It would be hard for me to believe, that dreams of flowers did not follow.
Whether a dream is the chicken or the egg, is really immaterial. Without dreams we are a less creative, and less perceptive people. If your dreams and visions, are translated into photographic images, and you create and share those images in order to tell stories, than you are in fact “dreaming out loud”.
Thanks again for allowing me to share my humble pictures with all of the artists that are on this page, and especially for letting me dream out loud.
Sweet dreams, Wayne