Frank Jay Leonard
May 6, 2009 - 2am
I have awakened early this morning from a dream that came from somewhere very deep within me. It flooded me with a kaleidoscope of images that felt ancient. Actually, the images were from more present times, but the knowing I was left with feels as if it exists in the earliest memories buried within the genes and chromosones of my biology.
There are so many wisdoms and knowings that lie within me, of which I know virtually nothing. My immediate thoughts upon awakening had to do with the psycho-therapy work that Steve does, the knowledge of which I have from Joyce. It is unimaginable that the intensity of the images that came with this dream, their clarity and detail, could be attributed to anything that even comes close to thought or logic. This was not thought, but image.
That knowledge alone almost left me unwilling to get up and write. Whatever this dream means, it is not about words, but image, and image is the home of the artist. What I experienced this night is not meant to be expressed by me in writing some other book, though that too would be art, but through my eye, my camera, and my photography.
Today we visited the Museo Arqueologico Rafael Larco Herrera and saw paintings and carvings of the early Incan and pre-Incan peoples of Peru. There was a collection of erotic sculpture art from the Moche people. While there where no sexual images in my dream, I know that what I saw today churned up the most ancient and primordial of connections with my ancestors.
One knowing that comes out of this for me is that I am an artist, and that my gift will not only come from the thousands of figure photo images I have already taken, but also from those few that communicate a vision and understanding of what it is that I am attempting to capture. A few of my images maybe begin to come close. I think of one image in particular that has raised a very wide variety of reactions in people, from appreciation and enjoyment to disgust. It is amazing to me the incredible differences of interpretation that each of us bring from our own experiences, values, and biases to such an image. I want my images to carry the power and vision of an artist who is at the heart and core of his work.
There were so many images in this dream that I will continue to process over the next several days I am sure. There was a flood of images that evoke feelings of freedom and wildness and capture and escape. There were flashing images that spanned decades of human passion, endeavor, and conflict. It was epocal in nature. I awoke breathless, almost gasping for air.
I think maybe I am ready to return to bed, to lay beside my beloved Joyce, to not worry about whether I fall asleep or not, and to let my mind and body sort more through what all this means - but this I know already - this dream is about my connection to those ancients from whom I am descended, and it is about my art. I want to not only become more passionate about my art, but to focus my eye and my skills towards producing that which has not yet been seen.
One last point. The times I have traveled to Mexico have always left me feeling like I was home. I know already that Peru feels the same way. These are my people and this is my home too. What we will see as we move into Machu Pichu I cannot even yet imagine, but I know that it will continue to evoke stirrings and wrestlings within. My eye, my eye, my eye. I must begin to see more clearly and deeply that which I am stirred to photograph and to share with others. I do not want my new gallery to only include images of pretty landscapes and women. I want it to be an expression of something at the core of life, sensuality, connection, beauty, and of the earth.
May 6, 2009