iPhone 7 photography, archival print on Hahnemuhle cotton rag
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Seeing, for me, is kenotic, i.e., a self-emptying act of paying attention to whatever my environment presents to me in the way of light and shadow, line, texture, hue, juxtaposition, geometry, and inherent drama. Though I love to edit photographic images as much as to edit words, I do not use distorting filters or special apps, overlays, props, staging, lighting, other than natural sunlight or interior light, or models. I want the viewer to linger on the image, and so I make the image harder to digest, using cropping and other editing techniques to de-familiarize the object so that it cannot be reduced to a word or category. I keep an image if it astonishes or beguiles me with multiple possibilities for interpretation. My poems are designed to be complementary, not descriptive, a way of doing in writing what Im also doing with the image. The result often moves me to laughter or tears or to moments of philosophical or spiritual discovery, or simply to wise contemplation of the rudeness and magic of life.
Randall VanderMey, a graduate of Calvin College, U of Pennsylvania, and U of Iowa and the Iowa Writers Workshop, has taught in the English Department at Westmont College for the past 30 years, following 10 years of college and university teaching in Iowa. He is a writer of poems, plays, and non-fiction, and a teacher of English Literature and writing, including journalism, creative writing, and advanced composition. In the past three years, his creative energy has gone into iPhone photography, gallery showings, and the making of special edition books containing his images and poems.