My use of the camera, I work to make images that go
beyond, and even undermine, the conventions of "point
of view." Such images transcend the limitation that
would seem to be inherent in the photographic mechanism
(or "point-of-view machine"). They allow the viewer
to see and feel the "room" — or the world, or reality
— as it is, beyond the ego's self-reference. And such
images thereby become a non-verbal means of "picturing"
the essential human process of ego-transcendence — going
beyond the fixed "point of view" of the ego, or the
core presumption of separateness.
camera is "point of view" incarnate. The event of the camera
registering an image on a piece of film replicates the human
idea of what it is to see: The light of the "outside" world
enters through a small aperture and is registered on a light-sensitive
material. Thus, both the camera and the human being are mechanisms
for registering reality from a particular "point of view" in
space-time. The camera — like the human being — is a "point-of-view
machine." Thus, the process of making photographs reflects the
nature of the human event, of human experiencing.
human individual in the midst of reality is like a camera in
a room — perceiving everything from a fixed "point of view."
But what does the room really
look like? The room can be viewed from every possible "point
of view" in space-time — not merely from any particular "point
of view," or even a finite collection of "points of view." Therefore,
no "point of view" can reveal the room, or reality itself, because
every "point of view" is limited and essentially self-referring.
itself always already exists. Reality itself is what exists
prior to "point of view,"
before any individual "point
of view" constructs its version of presumed "reality."
of view" is the essence of ego-life: The apparently individual
being presumes that he or she is a particularized "point," or
organized "point of view," in space-time. And that "point" is
"made" by contracting from the condition of totality — and,
indeed, by contracting from even every mode, form, or condition
of conditional existence. Therefore, the camera is a precise
mechanical equivalent of the ego — because it, too, functions
as fixed "point of view."
My use of the camera, I work to make images that go beyond,
and even undermine, the conventions of "point of view." Such
images transcend the limitation that would seem to be inherent
in the photographic mechanism (or "point-of-view machine").
They allow the viewer to see and feel the "room" — or the world,
or reality — as it is, beyond the ego's self-reference. And
such images thereby become a non-verbal means of "picturing"
the essential human process of ego-transcendence — going beyond
the fixed "point of view" of the ego, or the core presumption
consideration of the human being as a "point of view" existing
in the midst of unknowable reality began in my childhood. I
spent many hours sitting silently in My room, contemplating
what it would mean to exist and perceive not from a "point of
view" in the room, but from
the "point of view" of the
room itself. This was the beginning of My investigation of the
process of Divine Enlightenment — the process by which it becomes
possible to be identified with the condition in which all experience
is arising, rather than with the "point of view" of the apparently
consideration of the "room" has always been at the root of My
artwork. For many years, the artwork I created consisted primarily
of paintings, drawings, and literature. Eventually, the decades
of My consideration culminated in a focus in photography and
video, as artistic media uniquely suited to the communication
I intend to make.
before I started My concentrated work in photography and video,
I established My fundamental artistic position through the writing
of a study of early twentieth-century literature and art, focusing
on Gertrude Stein and such painters as Cezanne, Picasso, Mondrian,
and so on. (This study was written as My Master's Thesis, in
the English department at Stanford University, in 1966. My graduate
studies in English at Stanford were built upon my undergraduate
studies in the philosophy department of Columbia College in
New York City, including intensive study of world literature
and world art.) My primary interest in writing this study was
to address the implications of the modernist effort to reduce
art to sheer plastic and technical manipulation of words or
paint (or the "medium," in any form), thereby achieving a "meaningless"
artistic communication. My conclusion was that the effort to
divest art of meaning is a grave fault — a fault which is also
generally evident in the culture of the time (dominated by the
"point of view" of scientific materialism), in the increasing
"abstraction" from what is profoundly human and, even more so,
from everything spiritual and Divine. This conclusion is summarized
in the title I have given to this study: The Reduction Of
The Beloved To Shape Alone: The Effort Toward Abstraction, The
Pure Present, and The New In "Modern" Art, Psychology, and Philosophy
— Especially As Defined In The "Meaningless" Aesthetic Theories
Of Gertrude Stein.
although My approach to creating photographic images is highly
abstract, I am not looking to create "meaningless" patterns.
Indeed, I have chosen the camera as a medium precisely because
it inherently preserves at least a degree of perceptual realism
and does not allow for the kind of absolute "abstraction" from
meaning (or participatory reality) that is potential with paint.
I wish to maintain the tension of a clear and direct reflection
of conditional reality, including an address to the process
reality is reduced to a shattered abstraction without meaning,
then the beautiful is no longer there, the beloved is no longer
there. I use the photographic medium precisely because it inherently
reflects human and conditional reality and form. I enter into
My photographic contemplation of reality as a feeling process
— never abstracted from a feeling-relationship to human experience,
but always embracing human realities. The content of My images
is extremely intimate, humanly and sexually, and deals with
fundamental issues of existence in which people are profoundly
vulnerable and where deep consideration is required.
the making of these images is a profoundly participatory work
— not abstracting the subject from Myself, but participating
utterly. Therefore, the visual abstraction in these images is
not something separate or separative, but an expression of the
seamlessness of reality. I work to move the viewer into ecstasy
— abstracted beyond the ego's modes of perception. Ecstasy abstracts
absolutely (but not meaninglessly) — beyond all presumed "difference"
between "self" and "other."
art is created by means of My participation in the process of
realizing the beautiful, or the condition that is ecstatic.
When that condition is fully realized, one spontaneously utters,
"All of This Is Beautiful! This Is
That Which Is Beautiful."
purpose for the arts — of realizing that "All
Is Beautiful" — is the understanding that was alive in the Western
tradition in the time of Plato, as expressed in The Symposium.
I am thoroughly sympathetic with Plato's consideration of realizing
beauty. In the centuries since Plato, that understanding has
been degraded in the Western world, and in the common world
altogether — but that understanding remains fundamental to right
living body-mind inherently wants to realize the Matrix of life,
wants to allow the Light into the "room." Making it possible
for human beings to fulfill that impulse is what I work to do.
My images are created to be a means of participating in reality
as Fundamental Light — the world as Light, relationship as Light,
conditional light as Absolute Light.
"room" is where the "focal point" of ego happens. Ultimately,
when the camera is transcended, there is no longer any "room"
at all — but only Love-Bliss-Brightness limitlessly felt, in
vast unpatterned Joy.