Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in the Age of Uncertainty – No. 7 (Trees of Life Photomontage)

14 August 2017


Taken in Camera+ and edited in Snapseed, FX PhotoStudio and Pixlr.

Tree of Life Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Tree of Life Photomontage; 2017 Sally W. Donatello All Rights Reserved

Click onto image to enlarge. Let me know your response to this photomontage. Prints are available upon request.

Pens: How easy it would be to open this post as a whiner. Without debate, there is much to fuss and fume and seethe. But fate is a fancy word for turning away from possibilities and reality. And history tells us that the human psyche prevails in the most arduous of situations and times.

Instead of complaining I prefer to register degrees of gratitude for believing that the human spirit sees justice in the greater good, and will prevail.

A few months ago with a touch of good fortune I discovered the “ecology of ideas” of Rebecca Solnit. Years ago I first read her thoughts on the human condition, which spurred me to read more and more of her works. Her oeuvre explores subjects on the cultural, environmental, political and social implications of this existence on Mother Earth. She inspires me to be better.

Recently, she was interviewed for an article in The New York Times (“How Rebecca Solnit Became the Voice of the Resistance” by Alice Gregory, 08 August 2017). Here are some choice quotes:

‘‘I am interested in almost everything, and it can sometimes seem like a burden.’’ She cited Virginia Woolf and Henry David Thoreau as the writers most important to her: ‘‘Each of them wrote exquisitely about experiential, immediate encounters with the tangible world but could also be very powerful political polemicists. And the arc of their work describes a space in which you can be both.’’

‘‘…there are more than enough people telling us how horrific and terrible and bad everything is, and I don’t really need to join that project,’’ she said. ‘‘There’s a whole other project of trying to counterbalance that — sometimes we do win and this is how it worked in the past.’’ She continued, ‘‘Change is often unpredictable and indirect. We don’t know the future. We’ve changed the world many times, and remembering that, that history, is really a source of power to continue and it doesn’t get talked about nearly enough.’’

So I’ve chosen to follow Solnit on this quest to resist the negative, and focus on how to live in the smaller universe of my world within the larger universe. One surety running through my thoughts is that life on earth continues to redefine itself.

In the Lens section is my latest photomontage that honors this thinking, this personal philosophy. While there are moments of relapse into the dark, I will use this image to project that spirit. It’s really up to each of US to find our way in and through this new world order.

Truly, inner expansion breathes honor to protect the web of life. And life on earth does continue to redefine itself through the interaction between nature and human nature.


From TED Talks website: “Frans Lanting is one of the greatest nature photographers of our time. His work has been featured in National Geographic, Audubon and Time, as well as numerous award-winning books. Lanting’s recent exhibition, “The LIFE Project,” offers a lyrical interpretation of the history of life on Earth.”

Click here to watch the video (filmed in February 2005, runs 16.17 minutes) that shows Lanting’s project, “a poetic collection of photographs that tell the story of our planet, from its eruptive beginnings to its present diversity. Soundtrack by Philip Glass.”




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39 Responses to Visual Reflections: Nature Photography as Palette in the Age of Uncertainty – No. 7 (Trees of Life Photomontage)

  1. Wonderful post and images as always and thanks for the link!! will check out Solnit. You always write so meaningfully.

  2. Virginia Duran says:

    Loved everything about the post: your lovely image, the TED talks you mention and my favorite, Virginia Woolf. I am reading so much about her lately to do my London guide.

  3. How did you decide which colors to put into your photomontage?

  4. thirdeyemom says:

    Beautiful Sally.
    Love your words of wisdom and yes we
    Cannot dwell constantly on the negative. There is still so much positive and so much beauty in the world.

  5. Tina Schell says:

    Excellent input Sally – love this approach to life – and your photo definitely does it justice. The trees almost look like they were done in infrared.

  6. I had the honor of seeing Ms. Solnit on a panel once; she was excellent, as expected. Thanks for the post!

  7. Amy says:

    Your lens and pens are always inspiring, Sally. Thank you for the links. The history of life on earth is remarkable.

  8. Angeline M says:

    Beautiful photo and thoughts, Sally. At first glance your photo reminded me of a clear, crisp Christmas eve night, silent and calm.
    I just finished reading my first Solnit book, A Field Guide to Getting Lost, I’ll be looking for more of her works. And I can’t remember who has said that in times like these we can fight back with our art, making beautiful things.

    • Angeline, digging inward and outward are the answers. So glad that you are discovering Solnit. She has much to offer. I absolutely agree that the creative process is a soulful approach to the toxic environment being created daily by our government. It’s unbelievable in America that such an assault against human rights and the democratic process can be happening.

    • Angeline, also human rights to me includes the current attempt by the government to attack the environment.

  9. Lignum Draco says:

    A beautiful photomontage, Sally. I applaud you for trying to resist the negative, because there’s a lot of it coming from or in the name of you know who.

  10. Su Leslie says:

    A beautiful image and a very timely, and beautiful meditation to accompany it. I was aware of Rebecca Solnit, but hadn’t really read any of her work, so an extra thank you for re-introducing me.

  11. Love your photomontage, Sally.

  12. smilecalm says:

    wonderful resistance
    to the negative 🙂

  13. Thanks for introducing me to Rebecca Solnit. Seems like a writer and philosopher I need to look up. On a different note, the photo is an inspiration to look at as if life is pouring from Mother Earth.

  14. Sue says:

    I rather like your photomontage!

  15. What a beautiful photomontage, Sally! I love it! 🙂

  16. DG MARYOGA says:

    Your pens part always motivates and excites me,Sally.You’ve so optimistically positioned your micro-cosmos into the big universe despite the negative stimuli that surround us.Thank you for the video link,which reminded me of Darwin’s theory,the competent photographer impressively presented the unstoppable evolution of life on earth.Wonderful your tree of life too,the spiky white touches effectively converge and confabulate with the dark splashes in the sky 🙂

  17. Allan G. Smorra says:

    I like the photomontage this week. It is a bit of a “reverse high-key silhouette posterization”, if there is such a thing. Words fail me, but your image works.

  18. pattimoed says:

    So true, Sally. It’s so easy to whine!! I love this photomontage. The colors and composition are beautiful! I’ve just started reading Rebecca Solnit. I love her thoughtfulness and hopefulness.

    • Patti, oh, I’m thrilled. You have given yourself a marvelous gift. Her point of view is light in the current dark (her small tome, Hope in the Dark, is joyful even in peaks and valleys of history). I appreciate your response to my image.

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