"The only real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes."
There was once a time when I swore I would never photograph sunflowers. My teacher, Paul Caponigro, made a masterpiece of a book on them in 1972. Drop the mic brilliant. How could I possibly find light not in his shadow? Eventually the temptation was too great. Given my mantra of "follow the light,” how could I resist a subject who turns their face to the sun at all times?
I have returned to the sunflower fields for over 25 years, each time open to the unique possibilities of that day. There has been a cycle of life I have been blessed to observe, now feeling in some ways it also mirrors my own. Here in the fields, my way has changed over time. In the beginning, I was always on the hunt for dramatic moments. Now there is a different type of observation; a patient consideration, even meditation. Once, the bumble bees terrified me, but I have dropped my guard because I've learned the last thing my bumble bees want is anything to do with me. They are in joyous overload as they satisfy all their pollen needs and then roll over almost too full to move or fly. We both want full access to the sunflower's glory, but now I am content to wait. The bees come first.
Flowers sway in the breeze, they dance in the wind. Modern cameras have enough technology to freeze the motion of a speeding car, but I do not choose to freeze sunflowers. I now hope to embrace them. When I now consider a moment to record, I observe the motion and then add that motion to my body. Flower and I flow together, if there is music to hear, this is the way in.
courtesy of Jan Kawamura Kay