Friday, December 15, 2006

FYI

Steve Durbin wrote: "As a newcomer to your blog, I'm not sure whether there is a particular notion behind what you call ku."

publisher's response: Steve, I have not explained ku on this blog, so here goes:

The second syllable of hiaku, ku means sky or emptiness. I have labeled my photographs ku - playing on the meaning "emptiness" - for 2 reasons:

1. When I photograph, I try to photograph with as empty a mind as possible.

I try to do this because it quiets the discursive mind with its ego-centric orientation so that I might better immerse myself in the object of my photographic gaze. Hopefully, this diminishes the barrier between observer and observed in order that the object of my gaze can speak for itself in its own voice.

With an empty mind, I feel more often than not that a subject has chosen me rather than the other way around.

2. To my eye and sensibility, my photographs, when printed, are like hints and teases to answers to as yet unsolved riddles.

Upon viewing my photographs, they become somewhat like meditations. So, just as I try to photograph with an empty mind, I try to view my photographs with an empty mind. When we let go of all of our preconditioning, discarding habitual mental sets, biases and stagnant emotive states, a brush against the small and ordinary (most often the object of my photographic gaze) can connect us with - or give hints and teases to - the universal and eternal.

As Thoreau wrote, "Sometimes as I drift on Walden Pond, I cease to exist and begin to be."

FEATURED COMMENT: Steve Durbin wrote: "Your statement is lovely and stands on its own, but I fear there is a slight linguistic problem with your derivation. It works in English, but in Japanese, with its many homonyms, the "ku" character in "haiku" is not the same as the "ku" (with long u) meaning sky or emptiness (which is also the kara in karate = empty-hand)..."

publisher's response: Thanks for the linguistic lesson (seriously). It differs from my source (BTW, apropos of nothing here, I lived in Japan for a couple years) but either way, I have based my use of the syllable/character ku on that which means "emptiness". The relevance of the syllable/character with its use in the word "hiaku" is of no real importance to me, but you are certainly correct in pointing out, especially with the Japanese language, the notion of "passing through the hints and teasings of language."

FEATURED COMMENT #2: anonymous Steve wrote: "foo"

additional publisher's comment: Kent, every night before retiring, my wife makes me don a very tight fitting full face helmet to prevent any overnight head expansion.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Steve Durbin said...

I thought the word haiku was probably related, but did not want to jump to conclusions. Your statement is lovely and stands on its own, but I fear there is a slight linguistic problem with your derivation. It works in English, but in Japanese, with its many homonyms, the "ku" character in "haiku" is not the same as the "ku" (with long u) meaning sky or emptiness (which is also the kara in karate = empty-hand). The ku of haiku, by itself, means phrase or sentence or line of poetry. Now you can still claim conceptual connections, but they're more mysterious than you might have expected, passing through the hints and teasings of language.

12/16/2006 01:13:00 AM  
Anonymous Kent Wiley said...

Damn, I don't want that head of yours to get any bigger Mark, but your two reasons for using the word "ku" exhibit a precious innocence. I mean that in a kind way. The world could use more of it. Especially #2: "...my photographs, when printed, are like hints and teases to answers to as yet unsolved riddles." Which is most of life, for me.

But it echoes one of my favorite rock lyrics:

"When I was a child
I caught a fleeting glimpse
Out of the corner of my eye
I turned to look but it was gone
I cannot put my finger on it now
The child is grown the dream is gone..."
Gilmore, Waters

Thanks for explaining ku.

12/16/2006 01:57:00 AM  
Blogger Steve said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12/16/2006 08:07:00 AM  

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