Out of Focus

Sanctuary, from the series Homage to Trees, 2012. Photograph @ Jane Alynn.

An artist is always trying to get away from conventional standards and explore something unknown—something that may commonly be regarded as ugly or a failure. ~ Kazuaki Tanahashi

When I worked in an office, I always hung my photographs on the walls. My co-workers enjoyed them, and I was happy to share them. They inspired me as well.

On one occasion, a man came into the office to meet with someone. He was early for his appointment, so while he waited he looked hard at all of my photographs. He didn’t know they were my images, of course. After several minutes he shook his head and said, “These would be pretty good…. But that poor person needs to learn how to focus.”

I just smiled and thought of Kaz. All the years since studying the Zen art of one-stroke brush painting with him, I’ve realized my soft-edged zone plate images, which I use to explore the unknown, the beauty and mystery of the world we live in, are the most immediate response to his brushwork and his teaching.

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