LIVE SNAKES

“Live Snakes” is about photography as it has shaped the many ways we have come to view and relate to the visible world over the past 100 years. It consists of digitally crafted, imaginary snapshots, depicting mundane events which upon closer inspection are not quite what they seem to be.

This series was inspired by a particular Buddhist koan. It tells of the Zen master who travels with three acolytes to the studio of Japan’s greatest living artist. There he shows them the artist’s most critically acclaimed painting, in which a gnarled tree on a sandy bluff dominates the canvas, its branches, swept back from the sea by the force of constant onshore winds. The master asks his acolytes, What do you see? The first says, I see a goddess dancing on the dunes, filled with wild abandon. The second argues, I see a poor tortured soul, arms raised, bent back in terror and defeat. The third says, I am sorry, Master, but I see nothing but a twisted old tree growing on a desolate sand dune in the middle of nowhere. After which the Master replies to them all: To understand the true nature of such a work, we must look beyond the boundaries of its frame and open our minds to the unseen landscape that lies just beyond the edges of the paint.

Whereupon the acolytes, for the first time, saw the entirety of existence unfolding before them like an intricate tapestry.