10 February 2020
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.