Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 58) – “There is a Crack … in Everything” Photomontage

10 February 2020


“There is a Crack in Everything” Photomontage; All Rights Reserved 2020 Sally W. Donatello

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


The lyrics from Leonard Cohen’s “Anthem ” inspired my photomontage in the Lens section. At the heart of his words, which were released in the 1992 album of the same title, is a warning about the imperfections of the human condition. His entire poetic song is nine stanzas; each speaks to the power of hope — the crack that lets the light radiate inward and outward. The song took him a decade to complete, and it is as relevant in 2020 as it was over twenty-five years ago.

Here are the first and last stanzas, which through repetition echoes the significance of the other seven stanzas that comment on humanity’s ability to create chaos and wonder. Cohen’s work was greatly influenced by his reverence and study of Zen Buddhism, whose philosophy and tenets were a mix of how light sustains life and recognizes that human animal never will reach perfection.

“Anthem” first and last stanzas:

“Ring the bells that still can ring                                                                                                     Forget your perfect offering                                                                                                             There is a crack, a crack in everything                                                                                             That’s how the light gets in                                                                                                              That’s how the light gets in                                                                                                                                            That’s how the light gets in.”

The image on the left in the Lens section is a trio of floating feathers. They represent the environmental crisis and the imbalance it is creating: the loss, for example, of one million birds at the mercy of death by plastic that is found in the oceans (Sierra Club magazine, January 2020). The image of egg shells on the right represents life and its fragility due to human intervention; the egg births life and also provides sustenance for many creatures. In the center is the dawning of bright light that gives power to what can be possible: cracks in the proverbial world that produces civilizations that thrive and inspire the  longevity of human ingenuity.

This winter has made it clear that climate change and chemicals are severely affecting the bird population. I am witnessing that decline in my backyard. Usually, I use three large bags of birdseed by mid-winter; to date I’ve used half of one bag. And family and friends have experienced and noticed this change.

To recognize the “crack in everything” is to recognize the history of human existence, and the light sustaining our continuance.




This entry was posted in Climate Crisis, Design, Digital Art, Mobile Photography, Nature, Nature Photography, Photography, Photomontage, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

32 Responses to Nature Photography: Coexistence (No. 58) – “There is a Crack … in Everything” Photomontage

  1. I like your symbolic panomontage, along with Leonard Cohen’s songs.

  2. one of my favourite Cohen songs and a perfect image!

  3. Maria says:

    Well done, all the elements work and blend together seamlessly, as usual. Have you tried the new iPhone 11 Pro camera? I’m pondering whether to get it or not. Thanks.

  4. Virginia Duran says:

    Beautiful photomontage Sally. Thank you for bringing these lyrics to our attention, I never paid attention to these words and indeed there’s a crack in everything.

  5. I really love this one. First of all the associations it brings up, but also the pure graphics, beautifully done with the white shapes to the sides, split by that gorgeous red sky.

  6. chasingbeans says:

    It’s so beautiful photos, love it!

  7. Su Leslie says:

    I have always felt uplifted by Leonard Cohens words and music and you’ve honoured them here beautifully Sally. The lack of birds is worrying here too: we’ve noticed a very sharp decline.

    • Su, it truly breaks my heart. But the last few days I’ve seen more flitting around my bird feeders than I’ve seen for weeks. Still, their declining populations are going to have major effects on the health of our ecosystem.

  8. Amy says:

    A beautiful, creative artwork, Sally!
    The song is very moving. Thank you so much for the link.

  9. Sue says:

    Oh, it certainly is! And blogging has been brilliant, because of the people I have met, in life as well as on the blog!

  10. Sue says:

    A most interesting photomontage, Sally. On another note, since my health has been deteriorating I live by ‘Ring the bells that still can ring’, and not looking back and wishing….

  11. Lignum Draco says:

    Powerful words by Cohen. A thought provoking photomontage, but your noticing of the lack of birdseed used this year brings home the point about the changes we’re experiencing.

  12. Jane Lurie says:

    Love the song and love your interpretation, Sally. Very creative.

  13. Tina Schell says:

    Beautifully written Sally. Not sure I know the song. Will be checking it out

  14. That’s a lovely montage, Sally!

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