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Patricia Lay-Dorsey | all galleries >> my photo-a-day archives >> 2009 photo-a-day galleries >> photo-a-day July 2009 > becoming an "unmoved center"
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becoming an "unmoved center"

After working for days to capture this particular image, I was grateful today to discover a link to this quote from "Zen In the Art of Archery" by Eugen Herrigel, a Westerner who had lived in Japan:

“Should one ask… how the Japanese Masters understand this contest of the archer with himself, and how they describe it, their answer would sound enigmatic in the extreme. For them the contest exists in the archer aiming at himself—and yet not at himself, in hitting himself—and yet not himself, and thus becoming simultaneously the aimer and the aim, the hitter and the hit. Or, to use some expressions which are nearest the heart of the Masters, it is necessary for the archer to become, in spite of himself, an unmoved center. Then comes the supreme and ultimate miracle: art becomes “artless,” shooting becomes not-shooting, a shooting without bow and arrow; the teacher becomes a pupil again, the Master a beginner, the end a beginning, and the beginning perfection.”

Special thanks to Erica McDonald for pointing me in this direction.

It is all too easy--for me anyway--to get in a tizzy when an idea pops into my happened with this photo. So simple an idea, actually, but such a complex step-by-step process to bring it to fruition. First I had to buy the kite, one that spoke to me of playful soaring. Then I had to find the right kite-catching tree in a place where there would be someone who could "rescue" it later. Next I talked to the park maintenance supervisor to get his OK. The next step was the fun part--going down to the park at a "good light" time and finding someone to fly the kite for me. In particular, to fly it into the tree I'd already chosen.

I was lucky. On Saturday we had a lovely dusk with a sprightly breeze. I scooted down to the park and looked around for a likely kite-flier. My friend Aly was sitting by the water with a friend and I told him of my search. He said, "Well, it's been a long time but I used to fly kites." So this 70 year-old retired social worker from Egypt unfurled my shocking pink ladybug kite, got it up in the air and flew it into the perfect spot in the kite-catching tree!

After an unsuccessful series of shots that evening, I got up at 7:15 a.m. the next day and found my kite glowing in the early morning light. It was then that the kite and I became one, the tree and I became one, the morning light and I became one, and my camera and I became one. An unmoved center.

So now my "Falling Into Place" book project has one more image. And this image is more important to me than the thousands that preceded it. Why do I say that? Because it answers the question posed to me last week by Carl Bower, the photographer who came from Washington, DC to Detroit to help me with the text for the book. And what was Carl's question? "What is the longing of your body and how would you show it in a photograph?"

To see how this image fits into the whole, CLICK HERE to visit my website.

Canon EOS 40D
1/100s f/20.0 at 19.0mm iso320 full exif

other sizes: small medium large original auto
Roe..16-Jul-2009 02:18
Patricia..I looked at every single image and was blown away..I yelled to my husband and told him to come look at my friends website..(he usually just humors me and says "nice" but this time he stayed and looked..really looked) I love your images and viewed them with a perpetual smile :)
x roe
Roe..16-Jul-2009 01:39
I am so moved my this :)
Cindi Smith15-Jul-2009 22:47
Very well done! Beautiful image!
Eckhart Derschmidt15-Jul-2009 22:15
Well worth the effort. Excelent shot!
And a great story too
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