Photography by Ira Gardner | Tao inspired art

Tao inspired art

June 22, 2018  •  Leave a Comment

12"x20" black and white panel of a foggy landscape with a bronze bell hanging from a pagoda.Peace and FriendshipThe Korean friendship bell sits silently in an imagined landscape inspired by Taoism and the Manual of the Mustard Seed Garden. 12"x20" Giclee

Peace and Friendship
12"x20" Giclee Composite Photograph by Ira Gardner

I made this composite photograph yesterday after having spent the past few weeks revisiting the ideas of Taoism and Chinese painting.  Taoism has been an important part of my art practice for more than 10 years now.

 I was in Los Angeles last week for my parents 50th anniversary and I took them to the Korean Friendship Bell located in Angels Gate Park.  I was born in San Pedro and my parents were married there.  We moved away two months before my 9th birthday but it always feels like I am returning home when I visit and especially so for my mother who was raised there. 

I photographed the bell as well as the three pelicans as the three of us walked along the ocean.  I find it interesting how I managed to create an image that features two groups of three birds and how that reminds me of being there with my parents in our own group of three.  We went to a church service at the same place my parents were married and I wonder if the idea of the trinity subconsciously entered into this artwork as well. 

After returning from that trip I was inspired to build this composite image using images from my library.  The lower left reeds came from images I made with my wife while we were riding our bikes on the Trail of the Couer d' Alene's and the three ducks and the Cormerant on the pier were taken in Tacoma while visiting my friend Ed.  The water comes from an image made up at Priest Lake and the foggy background is from an image I made a few years ago at Liberty lake.  To finish the image off I added a texture layer from an image of a rough plaster wall.

I think what excites me the most about this kind of work is that I am constructing the final image like a painter.  The word photography means "writing with light" and in this way I feel as though I am making a photographic version of chinese brush paintings.  In compositing this image together  I am blending my life experiences into a harmonious expression of peace and gratitude for the memories of special moments where I felt connected to something to the Tao of life.


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