PHOTOGRAPHY MOVING YOUR SOUL

•March 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

Art exists to share a new perspective of reality…the perspective of the artist who sees differently than from the perspective of popular reality. As such, he is contributing to the expansion of our own perception. The joy of this sharing takes on its full meaning when a witness to our art finds inspiration in our vision and shares the nudging of his or her Spirit.

Many thanks to Renée Demers of Covivia for her marvelous sharing.

Text : René Demers

Photo and english translation : Claude Charlebois (for purchase of this photograph, please click here)

RebirthingGaiaCopyright

THE BABY, THE TREE AND HER-HIM

They were comfortably resting in the moment when I walked into the clearing. Around them, the joy filled birds were dancing and singing. Winged flutters and lively shrills drummed into my ears. The earth perspired the scent of fresh humus. The sun’s rays fought their way through the fog, warming the forest. Receptive, she joyfully greeted.

The tree was a majestic Presence. Like a phallus beckoning the sky. The new born rested in its textured folds. Nude on the swaddlings. Loved. Around him, dried leaves were witnesses to the moment. A woman…or was it a man laid down on its trunk with arm outstretched towards the babe. A diaphanous gauze covered this hermaphrodite. Hair flowed accross the shoulders. She-he was magnificent. Enigmatic. Timeless and pure. All around, young sprouts were shooting sparks of light.

The scene was surprising and unexpected. A translucent veil of mystery was drawn. Its esthetics shifted my ‘a priori’, opening my mental barriers. St-Francis of Assissi reborn ? The beauty expanded me. Like the springtime in a budding forest. The tenderness so generous. The vitality palpable. A sparkling modernity. Sublimated sexuality. An artful act.

I gazed for quite a long time, drawn in spite of myself. At first hesitant yet yielding to enthusiasm, slowly I bathed in its energy. The androgyny of the figures echoed in me. The mature woman saw herself.

I went on my way delighting in the fall colors.

I thanked Gaia for the sharing of the earth, the talent of its artists and the rebirth I had just revisited.

Renée Demers

LA PHOTOGRAPHIE ET LES MOUVEMENTS DE L’ÂME

•March 17, 2016 • Leave a Comment

L’art existe pour le partage d’une nouvelle perspective de la réalité…celle de l’artiste qui voit différemment de la réalité populaire et qui par le fait même, donne de l’expansion à notre propre perception. La joie du partage trouve toute sa signification quand un témoin de notre art est inspiré par notre vision et exprime les mouvements de son âme.

Merci à Renée Demers de Covivia pour son merveilleux partage.

Texte : René Demers

Photo : Claude Charlebois (achat de cette photo disponible ici)

RebirthingGaiaCopyright

Le bébé, l’arbre et elle-lui

Ils étaient confortablement installés dans l’arbre quand je débouchai dans la clairière. Autour d’eux, des oiseaux joyeux virevoltaient et chantaient. Des sons aigus et des cascades de battements d’ailes tambourinèrent dans mes oreilles. La terre dégageait une odeur d’humus frais. Les rayons du soleil pénétraient la forêt. Réceptive, elle se réjouissait.

L’arbre était majestueux. Tel un phallus vers le ciel. Le nouveau-né était déposé dans un des plis de sa base texturée à souhait. Nu sur ses langes. Lové. Autour de lui, des feuilles sèches s’accrochaient au présent. Une femme ou peut-être un homme étendu sur le tronc lui tendait la main. Une gaze diaphane couvrait avec grâce cet hermaphrodite. Ses cheveux blonds couvraient ses épaules. Elle-il était magnifique. Énigmatique. Intemporel et pur. Tout autour, de jeunes pousses vertes lançaient des étincelles de lumière.

La scène était surprenante et innattendue. Le mystère y étendait son voile translucide. L’esthétisme basculait mes a priori, ouvrait les frontières de mon mental. Saint-François-d’Assise ressuscité? La beauté m’éclatait. Tel le printemps dans la forêt bourgeonnant. La tendresse était généreuse. La vitalité palpable. La modernité scintillante. La sexualité sublimée. L’art agissant.

Attirée malgré moi, je restai longtemps à contempler. D’abord hésitante, puis enthousiaste, lentement, j’englobai l’énergie. L’androgynie des personnages me faisait écho. La femme mûre se reconnaissait.

Je regagnai la forêt poursuivant mon chemin automnal.

Remerciant Gaia de mettre à ma disposition cette Terre, le talent de ses artistes et cette Renaissance revisitée.

 

 

THE CREATIVE CHILD

•August 14, 2014 • 20 Comments

PatchAdams

How do you feel when you wake up at night with a dynamite visual concept, video screenplay or when you wander in nature and become mesmerized by something you have never seen before ? You are amazed like in a state of hyper-awareness. You open up, engaging all the senses, like when you were a child. Part of you tries to understand while another part is perfectly satisfied in just BE.ING there and SEE.ING. You are creatively engaged into an age regression leap where nothing is yet defined, an infinity of ‘somethings’ at that very instant. You are bathing in the pristine waters of infinite possibilities.

Robin Williams made us feel this way. We lost an inspiring actor, philanthropist and human being a few days ago. He had this child like aura that put a smile on everybody’s face. He was to most of us, the personification of aliveness which is why so many of us are saddened by his decision to leave us casting a perplexing shadow on our own ‘joie de vivre’. To some, he copped out but we all discovered he had so much unsuspected inner pain that he chose to exit from this earthly stage. It raises fears and questions about the ever possible depression and mental illness in all of us but more specifically in highly creative people. The word ‘illness’ is usually retained when the level of disfunctionality exceeds society’s definition of a productive, balanced individual. But this definition is quite subjective and debates whether ‘doing-ness’ is more desirous than ‘being-ness’. I believe we all go through diverse levels of imbalance in the creative footsteps we decide to take. We all explore varying degrees of schizophrenia as we explore roles that are different than what we really are. It’s the very nature of acting. It’s the risk taken on the stage of Life.  The game is to exit the role before it invades us totally, before we loose our way.

The creative lifestyle isn’t only about doing-ness. If that becomes all important, it only amplifies our egos. Celebrity, a bigger home, bank account, fancier car all become evidence of our mastery at functionality. Another role. Another illusion.

What happened to Robin Williams ? Did he burn himself with the booze and the drugs ? Did he feel as vulnerable as a baby chick after his recent heart surgery ? I remember how ‘wasted’ I felt after an emergency surgery for acute appendicitis 17 years ago. It’s easy to mistakenly equate your life potential with your ailing physical form. Imbalanced hormones and bio chemistry seemingly offering an endless circle of medication yet also inviting body mastery and mounting with assurance the run amok horse of the mind.

Artists are quite often hyper-sensitives…a source of pain and ecstasy. Yet I offer the suggestion that one of their great contributions to humanity is for them to be the guardians of our Being-ness, that beautiful sensitivity we abandoned when we exited childhood.  They offer the alternative to retain our creative child and nurture it both with the increasing resources and discipline of adulthood. The creative child requires material, emotionally, intellectual and psychic resources to survive. They all contribute to the creative space.

We don’t have all the answers to existence even though the creative lifestyle points the way to creations’ intentions. Robin Williams gave us a vision of how powerful a smile and a laugh can be yet perhaps he felt pain because so many of us have decided to ignore its power and decided to put the creative child to sleep forever. Perhaps he fell in love with it and wanted to desperately hold on to it, to keep it awake no matter what, overshadowing the opportunities this realm offered him.

Among his many offerings, the three that stand out for me is learning to abandon structure and embracing our humanity in ‘Patch Adams’. Capturing a glimpse of the other side and a kind of Love that transcends time and space in ‘What Dreams May Come’ and of course, he allowed me to revisit my childhood as I awaited the birth of my son 23 years ago by marveling at the rebirthing of the creative child in ‘Hook’ where he masterfully played the role of Peter Pan.

I hope that just as he saved his wife from the hell of guilt & fear in ‘What Dreams May Come’, that Love will rescue him from his own shadows.
I hope his sensitivity and creative child are replenished and healed and that he catches up to his shadow in the ‘Neverland’ he has chosen.

BANGERANG… Peter Pan

NEW YEAR’S CREATIVE RITUALS

•January 6, 2014 • 2 Comments

We like to occasionally look back or ahead to ponder and plan. The new year passage has always been a favourite for most. It is one of our social rituals. This year, it outlines for me the importance of rituals in our lives and how it prepares the creative soil for newness. Rituals are important  pauses to acknowledge the ‘specialness’ of what surrounds us. It goes hand in hand with the zen of seeing. Rituals have all but disappeared from our lives. Many artists have used their own little rituals to enhance their special moments. Painter Joan Miro treated art class as a religious ceremony. His paint brushes were his sacred objects. Leonardo Da Vinci acknowledged the importance of his ideas by always carrying a notebook and writing them down, collecting them likes precious gems throughout his entire life. They make life feel more special. They are also helpful and important to tune into the needed discipline on days when motivation is low.

My ritualistic notebook is my camera but I have been know to tote a notebook like Leonardo on occasions. I have become progressively fascinated with video capture in 2012-13 which is now quite affordable, offering a new creative playground. If as myself, you are a photographer that has been interested in expanding your repertoire, video is certainly an appealing avenue with the advent of broadcast quality DSLRs and GoPro cameras.

So, inspired by my last blog entry and arctic like conditions outside, I put on inspiring music, cuddled close to a fireplace and, eggnog in hand, crafted for myself the ritual of looking at all the footage I had taken with my newly acquired GoPro camera in 2013 to try and make an interesting video. The objective was to create something heartwarming that also doubled as a new year’s message without the endless preparation and science that accompanies video. The first rule of an interesting video is to tell a story. Hence the storyboards. In my case, all the footage was shot, but no story. After looking at the footage, the ideas started flowing and I decided to  play with my fascination for one of earth’s natural elements…water. There were times when, amidst these natural wonders, I had the feeling I could actually walk on water. I then realized I could…when its frozen. Plenty of that outdoors. So I shot the opening scene and the closing scene and put the rest together.

No big production, just a fun creative exercise to start the year, all from home movies and a little dreaming…something I am quite good at. I am certainly going against the grain here on what people do with GoPro cams, like diving out of airplanes or surfing the big waves or base jumping from high altitude peaks. But we are all allowed our own kind of MAGIC and your photography will bear yours as soon as you go beyond the science of these newly found gizmos.

So my wish for you in the coming year is to craft your very own rituals. You will find they help to go beyond technique.

In the words of one of my favourite creativity/photography coaches Selina Maitreya (from her book ‘How To Succeed In Commercial Photography, P.145) :

“Photography has long been referred to as ‘the marriage of science and magic’. While many photographers spend long hours working on the science of photography, perfecting their technique, most never get close to accessing the magic. Yet this intangible quality, the mystery that probably drew them in to begin with, is indeed what every viewer responds to.
Have you invested in discovering the magic or are you grounded only in the science ?
…creativity is not about technique alone, which is why stopping here, giving no credence to exploring the unexplained aspect of photography is a big mistake.
The magic I refer to and that I believe in is your connection to your divinity.
I would ask you to consider that a conscious connection between you and your higher self (with your scientific skills deeply rooted in your experience) is what enables your creativity to flow.”
 
Hope you enjoy this simple pause, calm and meditative, an invitation to create your own reality, your own vision.
May you feed on your CREATIVE PASSION, be overwhelmed by ALIVENESS…and,

Dream your dream in 2014

CLICK HERE FOR HIGHER RESOLUTION !

Technical info : A big THANK YOU to musician Richard Souther for the permission to use his music.
I would rather give you inspiration instead of information. A lot of photography bloggers focus exclusively on the science while I prefer to share the creative aspects of visual imagery. Yet I recognize the value of the technical stuff so here is a bird’s eye view. Everything was shot with the GoPro Hero3 black edition, all handheld except for a few scenes where I rested the cam on a rock or branch and underwater where I used the headstrap accessory. I did not use the ‘eliminate shake’ option on YouTube because I wanted to keep the organic handheld ‘feel’. Most scenes were shot in 1440×1920 resolution at 30fps except the underwater footage (shot at 60fps) which I wanted to explore in slow motion (40%) in final video. The post production was done in Adobe Premiere, Photoshop and After Effects. If you want info on the effects used or have other questions, please comment or email me.

BIG PASSION, SMALL BOX MAKE FOR VERY CREATIVE IMAGERY

•December 18, 2013 • Leave a Comment

If you were wondering what to get for Christmas to wake up your visual creativity, the GoPro cameras with their panoply of accessories should be at the top of your list.

I have started to work with GoPro cameras in the last year and I’m still quite amazed at how much technology is contained in such a miniature camera. They offer video resolutions up to 4K with a variety of frame rates up to 60fps, 12MP photos up to 30 frames per second for actions shots, a built in intervalometer for time lapse, built-in Wi-Fi for remote controls that can sync dozens of cameras at once, 3 focal lenghts including SuperView™, auto low light modes and a variety of casings that are waterproof to 131’/40m. The list goes on and I have experimented with them underwater and in the sky. They offer excellent performance whether you fly them on drones or mounted on airplane wings or helicopters. How about mounting one on your head, chest, bike or car, even on your favorite pet, over, under or just about anywhere offering endless possibilities with shooting angles.

The camera is so portable and rugged that it enables you to view and document the world in a totally different and creative way and…see as no man (or animal) has seen before.

Check out these 2 videos or hit the Gopro.com web site and explore.

Yuletide blessings to all and may you remain inspired on the creative path.

THE CAMERA AS A MIND EXPANSION DEVICE

•August 13, 2012 • 2 Comments

In the last two decades, the camera has gone through a technological quantum leap. It took roughly a century and a half to go from Nicefore Niepce’s pinhole camera to the digital age which has opened the image capture floodgates for everyone. The computer hardware and software now integrated in even low cost cameras make it almost impossible to take a bad picture as long as you understand some basic principles and I feel safe in saying that the digital leap has placed a camera in the hands of almost every man, woman and teenager in the civilized world. Our intelligent cell phones not only photograph in over six megapixels but also record HD video. While pro cameras still reign high for image quality some of the images shared are nothing short of spectacular in spite of the obvious resolution limitations. Hence we have the likes of photographer Chase Jarvis contributing to international IPhone photo competitions. With today’s social networks, we are instant witnesses to personal as well as world events.

I have used cameras on a daily basis for close to four decades and thought it was a good time to reflect on its contribution in my life and for all of mankind.

In the words of commercial photographer and filmmaker Jim Jannard :
“The camera is without a doubt, one of the most important inventions. It has, on its own, the capacity to stop time, to record historic facts, to create art, to tell stories and communicate messages that transcend language better than any other tool ever conceived”.

Photography is the ideal medium for questioning the validity of reality. The final images emerging from camera to print are always windows on our physical world, both the inspiration and the canvas for sharing our personal vision and thus photography becomes an art form…and…as we will see, so much more.

In my quest for understanding human potential, I have studied many artistic geniuses and when I lecture on creativity, I try and motivate people to tune into their creative potential by first looking at how they relate to and perceive reality. There are as many ways of perceiving reality as there are sentient beings but for simplicity’s sake, I have broken it down into 4 main evolutionary sequences :

1-Family reality
2-Popular reality
3-Personal reality
4-Universal reality

To put it succinctly, we start in life by sharing the first nurturing years with our family, acquiring their values, ethics and belief systems. We then expand beyond family as soon as our schooling starts, to understand how popular reality works and how we can eventually function as independent individuals. Unfortunately, most people never explore beyond a popular perception of reality because of either a lack of will to do so or lack of resources.

The camera does a great job at recording a thorough visual testament of all the chapters of our lives, our emotional states and the world around us.

So much for pop reality ! Let’s get personal !

Some of us discover at some point that our perspective on reality is unique and worth sharing. All artists realize that. It is an empowerment.
It is the artist’s privilege to make birds bloom and flowers sing.

The flowers sing and the birds bloom

Photographer extraordinaire Gregory Colbert states : “We are taught to use cameras simply to take photographs. Why can’t we see cameras as musical instruments that can be played by the human eye ?” Among other things, there most certainly is music and poetry in many images.

We live in a very visual society and the still camera as well as the movie camera have changed the whole entertainment industry and most of our lives. For me the camera was not only a dynamic road to prosperity but fed my creative appetite and paved the road to my personal vision. I was encouraged to trust in this vision and was filled with gratitude at the opportunity of sharing something that inspires. One such example was when I shared my work with over 1700 delegates from 62 different countries during journalist Rolland G. Smith’s poetic presentation at the 60th annual NGO conference on climatic change at the U.N. in 2007.

Your personal vision is a creative outpouring and you have no idea where it will lead you ! It is an all embracing and magnificent leap of faith that usually contributes to defining your life purpose.

Your perspective on reality is what you choose to look at and what you look at always leads to something else. It is a never ending experiential road. It is perpetual newness.
In the words of Canadian poet & philosopher Kenneth G. Mills.: “Newness is the name given to what you can’t perceive from your personal point of view.”
For me, it was the realization that everything is connected. The widest angle lens can never span universal reality so how can we hope to perceive this. What do cameras have to offer ?

To get a glimpse of a more universal or cosmic reality, we have to look through the world’s most expensive camera (around $9 billion), the Hubble telescope/camera. I have always been somewhat of an amateur astronomer holding a deep fascination for space, so it seems obvious I would be interested in understanding this aspect of our reality but I am still quite puzzled  at why there are so few of us that make the effort to try and understand our universe by looking at the most wondrous photographs ever offered to humanity. I guess it’s all too abstract or takes too much effort because we have absolutely no point of reference or yardstick to understand the scope of what we are looking at. We know the speed of light is 186,000 miles/second but what does this really mean ? How do we conceptualize this ? We can only try by comparison and here are a few of them :
-The space station goes once around the earth every 90 minutes at mach 25 (25 times the speed of sound). At the speed of light, we could go 7.5 times around the earth in…1 second.
-It took the Apollo astronauts a little over 3 days to reach lunar orbit. At the speed of light, it would take about 1.5 seconds.
-The ‘Voyager’ space probe took roughly 35 years to exit our solar system. At the speed of light, it would have accomplished this in 3.5 hours.

Fascinating Mr. Spock !

So the cosmic yardstick…the speed of light…is faster than anything we are familiar with. At this speed, it would take roughly 100,000 years to stroll across our galaxy. Not that long ago, we thought the entire known universe was limited to our own galaxy but in the early 1900’s, at Wilson observatory, Mr. Hubble found that a few of the observed clouds or nebulae were actually other galaxies outside our own. So our universe was getting much bigger. The size of the universe was increased a million fold when the images below were snapped a few years ago. The Hubble telescope was pointed at an area of space were nothing was visible. They had the smart idea of doing a time exposure of several hundred hours and this is what they saw.

Over 3,000 objects can be counted in the photograph and… they are all galaxies.

This one shows around 10,000 objects, again all galaxies.

Q.: How close is the next galaxy similar to our own ?
A.: About 2.6 million light years away (that’s right, going from the earth to the moon every second and a half, for 2.6 million years)

So just try and understand now the distance that these images span and they show an area of space approximately equivalent to a pea you would hold at arm’s length. We still have no idea where or if it actually does end. If you add to this the recent discoveries that theorizes that there are many more universes other than our own, we realize the universe is one hell of a playground.

Do you feel creative ?

The paradox is that when I attempt to explain the size of the universe to motivate aspiring creative lifestylers and photographers to…expand… the initial realization is our insignificance…until… we realize we are looking only at one side of the coin. All of our photographs joined together show us more of the complete picture and that also includes the microcosm.

If we use another very expensive camera (about $150,000) the electron microscope/camera can show us the structure of matter at the atomic level (supposedly the smallest parts of matter until the recently discovered Higgs particle). We realize that the structure of matter is astonishingly similar to its macrocosmic counterpart. In other words, the structure of an atom is quite similar to a solar system.
There are 7 x 10²7 atoms in a 150 lbs person. If we playfully compare the number of atoms to solar systems, we quickly see each human being is a universe unto himself and…
just imagine if a whole civilization lived on the electron of an atom of skin at the tip of your nose, that civilization would perceive you as…God…or the totality of their known universe. Do you think they could actually see beyond the tip of your nose ???

Do you feel a little less insignificant now ? Do you feel a little more creative ? How is your photographic playground looking ?

Our planet was formed roughly 4.5 billion years ago and astrogeology is showing us that its life bearing components are found throughout the universe. We know there are 100 billion suns in our galaxy alone and it seems there are billions of galaxies. Probabilities and statistics are mathematical and scientific academic disciplines. Their logic confirms that it is mathematically impossible that we are alone in the universe. Yet this is not recognized or taught in our schools or considered in our life ethics, philosophies and religions. Astonishingly, popular reality still asks the question ‘are we alone in the universe’ and most people still base their whole beliefs systems and spiritual knowledge on a single book.

So what does all that lead to and to what purpose ? The camera is a mind expanding device but like all the tools offered to us we have to allow them to impact and transform our belief systems.

This post is another existential macro lens capture, brought on by a first time event in my life. A few weeks ago, I helped a loved one transition into death by keeping her company until her last breath. It was, understandably, very emotional… but also surprisingly serene. This expanded vision has enabled me to carry the ‘big picture’ in my daily life where I can no longer accept finality in anything. I can no longer accept such a waste of space…and time.

The camera’s mundane offerings has shown us famous heroes and villains, amazing landscapes and war torn cities, world records and world tragedies, presidential assassinations and moon landings, planes hitting twin towers and economic collapses but, what would you rather gaze at ? Wouldn’t you at least occasionally go for the ultra long focal lens, the one that expands your mind and feeds you wonder. You might find, looking through the universal viewfinder, that wall street looks a little different and that most of our preoccupations loose their color saturation.

But there is comfort in the realization that some of us are getting it, like those quoted in this post…and the likes of Tom Lowe. Do check out his amazing movie. Take it outdoors and bring your cameras. Sleep under the stars once in a while and watch as your mind ‘unframes’…but…there are sacrifices to be made…
you might miss Monday night football, once in a while.

CLICK !

LINDA & SERGE ETHIER…POETRY IN MOTION !

•June 13, 2011 • 1 Comment

Linda et Serge

I love photographing artists. The portrait photographer’s mission is to capture the passion that animates the person while showing the Art that drives them. A few months ago, advertising agency ‘Les Kréateurs‘ assigned me the pleasure of shooting Linda & Serge Éthier for upgrading their web site. Photographing dancers is always a challenge in that you don’t want to loose the intensity while showing the fluidity.

Linda & Serge are recognized professionals in the world of sport dance mentoring. They were trained by the best in Canada. They have distinguished themselves in an impressive number of international competitions. They have represented Canada in several international championships in France, England, Russia, Chili and the United States. Dance aficianados will be well served by their expertise and their extensive experience will have you enjoy classes that exceed your expectations..

Composite des photos de Linda & Serge Éthier