(2017 photography series)
While people tend to oversee things outside their usual field of view, I often try looking up and down to spot interesting compositions. I’m also especially on the hunt for interesting textures.
Here is the first pair:
In part two of my photography series called Heaven and Earth we can see a piece of heaven as seen from the entrance hall of the Martin Gropius building in Berlin as well as an old truck tyre lying in the riverbed of the river Rhine near my hometown Bonn.
Sometimes our point of view is restricted by conflicting opinions. We make use of our egos to define ourselves. But essentially we are just living out one facet of the infinite views of the big picture.
Stairway to Heaven / Highway to Hell
The Kybalion, a book based upon ancient Hermeticism, discusses seven principles or axioms of life. One of them is The Principle of Correspondence, which…
… embodies the idea that there is always a correspondence between the laws of phenomena of the various „planes“ of being and life. As above, so below; as below, so above.
You may (or may not) see the following photography pair in this spirit:
This somehow reminds me of the backmasking claims in the song „Stairway to Heaven“ by Led Zeppelin.
The alleged message, which occurs during the middle section of the song („If there’s a bustle in your hedgerow, don’t be alarmed now…“) when played backward, was purported to contain the Satanic references „Here’s to my sweet Satan“ and „I sing because I live with Satan.“
But what about Highway to Hell?
The song refers to the Hebrew name of God, „Yahweh“, when played backwards: „As above, so below; as below, so above.“
The next pair of photographies reminded me of the myth of Icarus.
Often depicted in art, Icarus and his father attempt to escape from Crete by means of wings that his father constructed from feathers and wax. Icarus‘ father warns him first of complacency and then of hubris, asking that he fly neither too low nor too high, so the sea’s dampness would not clog his wings or the sun’s heat melt them. Icarus ignored his father’s instructions not to fly too close to the sun, when the wax in his wings melted and he fell into the sea.
Left: Installation at a church in Kassel during the last documenta art-exhibition (2012).
Right: A sign at a junction box in Mallorca, Spain (shot 2016).
„Pride goes before a fall“
Here is a painting showing Icarus and his father Daedalus for comparison:
Neither flying too high, nor too low is an art, which is difficultly to master. Obviously it’s essential to find the fine line in between.
„If it seems too good to be true, it probably is.“
The proverb: „All cats are grey in the dark„ is attributed to Benjamin Franklin, explaining why to take an older woman to bed (and from todays view that really sounds offensive).
It means that in the dark, physical appearance is unimportant.
But how can you decide then, whether the wood is glowing or burning? You’d need your other senses, like the sense of smell.
You might be easily tricked to believe what your eyes see and you often won’t be able to decide if it’s the tree of life or the hellfire you’re facing.
When in doubt, try listening to your gut instincts and your heart.
A blast from the past
First constructed between 1896 and 1898 the so called „Old Rhinebridge“, had been the worlds largest arch bridge of it’s time. Two month before the end of world war II (in march 1945) the bridge had been blown up by the the armed forces of the Third Reich to make it more difficult for the allied troops to conquer the territories lying east of the river.
After the war was over, the bridge had been rebuild on their old piers (in 1949) and had been called „New Rhinebridge“ then. At 2nd of december 1963, just 10 days after the assassination of president John F. Kennedy, it had been renamed to „Kennedy-Bridge“.
Left: „Kennedy-bridge“ crossing the river Rhine in Bonn.
Right: „Gus Fring“ after having his face blown off by Walt’s bomb at TV-series „Breaking Bad“.
Gustavo „Gus“ Fring is a fictional character in „Breaking Bad“ and „Better Call Saul“, played by actor Giancarlo Esposito, who is named after the former german soccer International Torsten Frings. His death scene in „Breaking Bad“ has blown away the fans of the series, who compared his face to that of Harvey Dent „Two-Face“ as seen in the film „The Dark Knight“.
Moments before dying, Gus manages to calmly adjust his tie even after having half his face blown off. Esposito saw it as an important gesture of „when a person goes to what they’ve always done“, in order „to be complete in his leaving this world.“
I’m really undecided how to bridge this two images, but for me it looks like Gus stays right under the Kennedy-bridge and while the heaven above the bridge really looks peaceful to me, the hell is just around the corner.
John of Nepomuk
John of Nepomuk is…
… a patron against calumnies and, because of the manner of his death, a protector from floods and drowning.
Left: John of Nepomuk in Bonn Beuel photographed by me.
Right: Razor ribbon fence, from Vero Vig on pixabay.
is the only saint besides Maria that is shown with a halo of stars. This is how he looks from the front.
His halo of stars somehow reminded me of the razor ribbon fence, that is supposed to protect human beings from eachother these days.
It’s actually the first time, that I used a public-domain image in a part of my photography series.
Disciples of Sacred Geometry
As you can see, neither the heaven nor the earth is really visible through those man-made patterns. This leads to the insight, that we are often trying to hide from the real elements and therefore separate from nature.
Left: A piece of heaven as seen through the polyacrylic windowpane of our terrace door.
Right: Flagged floor at the ground garage of our former residence.
Maybe we are just insects on the surface of the big Apple of Discord?
Or maybe we are strokes on a drawing of the great MC?
I once had the chance to film people skydiving for an inhouse documentary of Smirnoff ICE. It’s such an enormous difference that you can see in the faces between the moment right before jumping off the plane and right after landing on earth.
Left: Some nice river-art someone sprayed on a milestone.
Right: Felix Baumgartner right after his stratosphere jump as seen on my TV.
With the help of the endogenous adrenaline production, people are able to face extreme and sometimes even life-threatening situations. After they’ve survived these moments of fear unscathed, most of the people are even getting addicted to this feeling and just want to jump right again.
Thoughts are meant to be free, free as birds.
When you prohibit yourself from thinking out of the box, you will begin to die!
Society is trying to pigeon-hole you, but as long as you question the reality of absolute beliefs and rules, you can be free.
You better keep moving!
Nothing is as it seems in this world.
Although they build the highest buildings to let you look up, the real heaven is often downstairs.
To get the whole picture you need to think in both ways and don’t just rely on your senses. The opposite is often exactly as true as the obvious.
You better keep thinking!
Truth is a Pathless Land
This part of the series relates to a famous quote by Jiddu Krishnamurti:
I maintain that Truth is a pathless land, and you cannot approach it by any path whatsoever, by any religion, by any sect. […] Truth, being limitless, unconditioned, unapproachable by any path whatsoever, cannot be organized; nor should any organization be formed to lead or to coerce people along any particular path.
Following the trails, other people have beaten, just makes you a carbon copy of their believes.
It’s essential to follow your heart to form your individual truth and to constantly update your believes.
A belief is purely an individual matter, and you cannot and must not organize it. If you do, it becomes dead, crystallized; it becomes a creed, a sect, a religion, to be imposed on others.
You better keep questioning!
Winning Hearts and Minds
This is the codeword of an US-military strategy, that has been developed during the war in Vietnam. If the army was unable to conquer an area violently, they used this technique to negotiate with the people – to win their hearts and minds.
Religion has some similar approach:
Regardless of the church, most of the world religions scare the people about some kind of hell, that non-believers have to face and also promise some kind of heaven or paradise for people that obey the religious leaders.
Capitalism and Consumerism
After many people started to quit church these days, people a forced into a new ersatz religion. In this religion smartphones and designer brands are the new implements of winning our hearts and minds.
You better keep denying!
Should we take the advice of the „holy“ scriptures quite literally or not?
“Forget the Bible, the Quran, the Vedas, the Granth Sahib, and all the scriptures in the world. None of them will show you the Great Eternal Truth. None of them will show you the Kingdom of God, for the real Kingdom of the Ultimate Truth is inside your mind. […] Without the Mind, there is no God. Without you, there is no God.”
― Abhijit Naskar, Neurons, Oxygen & Nanak
Remain at the wheel
When navigation systems became quite popular, we had several cases in Germany, where people drove their cars into the river, because a buggy navigation system told them to do so. People tend to rather follow a guide (even when he is wrong), than judge for themselves.
A sign is just a reference to the message, not the message itself.
The busstop sign is not the place, where the bus can stop. The real busstop is somewhere in the sphere. Just as all scriptures can only give hints and point to a deeper truth. But they don’t literally are the truth.
Reader discretion is advised
“. . . I feel we don’t really need scriptures. The entire life is an open book, a scripture. Read it. Learn while digging a pit or chopping some wood or cooking some food. If you can’t learn from your daily activities, how are you going to understand the scriptures? (233)”
― Swami Satchidananda, The Yoga Sutras
You better keep living!
Questioning the idea of art (and also the idea of persistence)
Like beauty, art is in the eye of the beholder.
But often things are only considered as art, when their creator is known and when a sign is attached telling people: „This is art.“ Artist like Marcel Duchamp actually took everyday objects, signed them and placed them in a gallery. This way the artwork was created just by calling it art and by placing it into an art environment.
Dynamics of the present
The artwork by Ernst Günter Hansing, who was a disciple of Fernand Léger, was created in celebration of the 2000 year existence of the city Bonn.
In spite of compositional austerity, the dynamics of the present, including that of the city of Bonn, can be conveyed with these forms, which are acting like an bundle of energy, as intended by the artist.
Build for eternity
The plastic of Hansing had been made out of steel with a base of concrete. It was meant to stay there at least another 2000 years, I guess. While the bridge „artwork“ in the sandpit was build out of sticks in the sand. I’m pretty sure, the artist, that created it, neither would have called it art, nor would have dreamt about someone would feature it in a photography series about art. But things never turn out the way you expect.
„In February 1998, the top-vortex of the plastic, that had been called „shashlik“ by the people, broke down and had to be re-welded.”
In the end the observer decides, wether something is art or not.
So you better watch out!
When judging about others, we often forget that our knowledge is mostly based on our framework as well as on personal experiences. We should keep in mind, that in a world of dualities slipping into somebody else’s shoes is essential. Only this way we will be able to see the whole picture and to transcend to the unified field of love and peace.