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Flow

January 18, 2016

A few months ago I had a crisis of heart. My EKG was reading “acute ischemia,” which, in lay terms, means: a heart attack was likely. It turned out that there is nothing wrong with my heart, that I just have a wonky EKG, but the doctors had me scared for a few days. I actually left the hospital against their advice (that death was imminent!).To ease my anxiety over the situation I went to a favorite spot in the woods, near the headwaters of Six Mile Creek, to take some photos.

Usually, when I venture out, camera in hand, I try not to have an agenda. I like to see what possibilities are presented to me and then explore them. On this day, in which darkness was rapidly approaching, I found myself standing in the middle of the creek, with my expensive camera and tripod perched on slippery rocks. As the light faded away I had to shoot longer and longer exposures; the flowing water began to look more and more ethereal, especially when contrasted with the few static objects in the view.

While I was in the hospital I had a series of tests done, which included imaging of the heart using dyes or nuclear material injected into my blood, and an echocardiogram. Like an expectant mother watching a sonogram, being able to see the innards of my ticker working away in a live view fascinated me; it was almost worth having to endure the whole ordeal. Whenever I have x-rays, or MRIs done, (I’ve had way too many!) I like to get copies so I can study and even draw from them. This time was no exception. In art school we studied anatomy as a part of figure drawing; I love learning about the body and understanding what we look like under our skin.

The water flowing in the creek felt like the blood in my arteries, in its movement was life. I needed a way to show it. I began to pick up red leaves and throw them in the water as my camera clicked off 2-second exposures. The red blur captured the motion; the fuzzy details and contrast of the waterfalls were like the images from the hospital. Later, I came back with red surveyor’s tape and let it run out in the creek for a few hundred feet. As I traced it with my camera, each image became more exciting.

It is moments like these when I am sure of my vision. Without forethought, I have woven a perfect thread through my work. You may recall an earlier series I did on the heart: a study of the origins of the ubiquitous valentine in contrast with the actual, anatomical organ. This was a perfect recap of that, but with the angle that the crucial flow of blood circulating through our hearts and bodies is like the flow of water through the creeks and rivers. We are all dependent on the flow of life giving fluid.

I plan to keep working on this series, playing in the creek and documenting my process. I’ve included a few here for your enjoyment.

flow project

 

 

flow project

 

cardiac cath image 2

 

park preserve water patterns

 

park preserve water patterns

 

 

echo copy copy

 

 

 

 

 

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5 Comments
  1. This is great Rob – love the thread and your vision. Live giving fluid…but also the pulse of flow. Look forward to seeing this series evolve….really beautiful.
    Always an inspiration

  2. Rob, this is amazing. I’m really pretty speechless. I hope to see more. (and I’m glad you’re ok!)

  3. Andy Moerlein permalink

    Blessings that the shake up was nothing —

    and lead to ART.

    My latest effort was a ton plus log of red oak. I halved it, holed it and thinned it to shape. It is only today finally to a scale that I can lift one end with full effort. (I am so sick of the jack and balance method!) I still must get the current 500# down to a size I can get it through a 36″ door and up a set of stairs to the gallery.

    “Bones of the Earth” based on Chinese Scholars Rocks… Many more ideas. Show in September in Boston!

    Andy Moerlein 123 Summer St Maynard MA 01754-2263

    603-496-8525 andymoerlein.blogspot.com Andy Moerlein on facebook

    On Mon, Jan 18, 2016 at 8:19 PM, roblichtblog wrote:

    > Rob Licht posted: “A few months ago I had a crisis of heart. My EKG was > reading “acute ischemia,” which, in lay terms, means: a heart attack was > likely. It turned out that there is nothing wrong with my heart, that I > just have a wonky EKG, but the doctors had me scared for ” >

    • Wow- sounds like great work (and a great amount of work!) I guess you, of all people, should understand my embracing the photographic approach!

  4. What a wonderful vision that connects us to earth.

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