Saturday, December 15, 2007


emergence by Diana Pappas

I just had some minor surgery that corrected years of sinus problems, and this photograph is the perfect expression of how I am feeling today.

Diana Pappas is a photographer who really appreciates the beauty of Rust. Her set of rusty photographs is wonderful.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

one last gasp....

Passion! by Yoshiko314

Seems like as soon as I begin to stop taking notice of the Fall colors...they are suddenly gone forever...and I long for one more glimpse. Take a look at Yoshiko314's gorgeous photo sets of Colored Leaves. Her annual series of minimalist foliage photography is really beautiful work.

Saturday, December 8, 2007

a poem, just because....

seed fury by C H Paquette

Washing My Face

Dawn at the kitchen sink, sunrise still
an hour off, and out the window
the birch tree's swirling: a wind through the courtyard's
done it, stirred the loosening leaves
among dozens of goldfinches frantic
in its branches, feeding on the fat catkins,
and even in this soft, constant mist of rain
the tiny petals, nearly iridescent, glitter
as they fall, a snow of shed skins annointing
the phalanxes of blown irises and the black cat, Lily,
who rises through it all
to take the most careless finch,
just as the rest of the flock, as one - a wedge
of child-sized feathery fists - blinks
from the limbs and vanishes
down the canyon wall
even before Lily hits the ground, before
the column of water fallen from the faucet
enters the dry, open basin of my hands.

byRobert Wrigley
from 'Earthly Meditations: New and Selected Poems'

Thanks to Fiona Robyn for sending along a favorite poem, just because....

the beauty of rust....

Yellow Rust by Ennoia

the beauty of pond scum....

Late Fall #5 by Moonchild1111

Thursday, December 6, 2007

more endings and beginnings....

try again by whickus is shooting stars

Whickus and previous wabi-blogi contributor Sol Exposure have been out on some joint photo expeditions recently and they have created some pure photographic magic.

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Book of the Week...

Photography Theory Edited by James Elkins
(2007 Taylor & Francis Group)

How do we speak in one breath of photography, and unproblematically incorporate the range of objects and practices that includes daguerreotypes, calotypes, 35-mm prints, Polaroids, and digital photographs into a convincing theoretical model?

This book of essays by nine leading art theorists and critics presents a contemporary conversation on ways of conceptualizing photography and photography theory.

Friday, November 30, 2007

more joy of fishes....

Northwoods Waterfall by C H Paquette

Water rushes around my feet. I am anchored to earth by the sheer weight of me and all the thoughts I carry in my head. The strength of the current demands I leave those thoughts behind and give all my concentration to the river. I am not as strong as the boulders just upstream – for they do not tremble in the swift current as I do. But at this moment, as I lose my worries and cares, I am balanced and equal to the water.

Fly casting is a way of meditation for me. Watching the water slip over the boulders, slide down the rock chute and into the pool puts me into a trance. The water as it glides over the rocks – is a sheet of movement – yet fixed in shape. I always shake myself a bit and remind myself to look beyond the water for the fish, hiding inside.

So it is with life. I must learn to lay down my troubles and pay attention to the beauty around me, and be sure it is joy which anchors me to this world, instead of anxiety and fear. I am not as strong as the boulders in the river, yet they too can give way if the current becomes too swift. Doubts and anger dislodge progress and happiness, just as easy as the water dislodges the boulders. I remind myself to look beyond the chaos and see "my fish" hiding inside.

-Story submitted by MitMoi , a writer and blogger and good friend from North Carolina

Thursday, November 29, 2007

endings and beginnings...

Plant #1 by Moonchild1111

Nothing in the garden is ever complete or finished. Today I did the annual post-harvest clean up of the vegetable garden, pulling up all the dead and withered plants and putting them in the compost pile. They will decay and create new energy for next year's plants and the cycle will continue...

This photograph was taken by Moonchild1111 with a Hasselblad... simply gorgeous.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Joy of Fishes....

Chuang Tzu and Hui Tzu
Were crossing Hao River
By the dam.

Chuang said:
"See how free
The fishes leap and dart:
That is their happiness."

Hui replied:
"Since you are not a fish
How do you know
What makes fishes happy?"

Chuang said:
"I know the joy of fishes
In the river
Through my own joy, as I go walking
Along the same river."

(from The Way of Chuang Tzu)

I want to know....

Trapped by bvshort

Another gorgeous discovery by bvshort and here is the poem she selected to go with it...

The Invitation by Oriah

It doesn't interest me who you are, how you came to be here.
I want to know if you will stand in the center of the fire with me
and not shrink back.

It doesn't interest me where or what or with whom you have studied.
I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls

I want to know if you can be alone with yourself, and if you truly like
the company you keep in the empty moments.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Success is as dangerous as failure.
Hope is as hollow as fear.

What does it mean that success is as dangerous as failure?
Whether you go up the ladder or down it,
your position is shaky.
When you stand with your two feet on the ground,
you will always keep your balance.

What does it mean that hope is as hollow as fear?
Hope and fear are both phantoms
that arise from thinking of the self.
When we don't see the self as self,
what do we have to fear?

See the world as your self.
Have faith in the way things are.
Love the world as your self;
then you can care for all things.

Tao Te Ching

new day....

Untitled by Yuki

There is always something brewing.... Yuki's photo, taken with a Yashica TLR, reminds me that my Rollei is sitting on the shelf, loaded with film, just begging to be taken outside. I love square format photography and the subtle colors of this photo just put me in a good place.

Sunday, November 25, 2007


Birds Before the Thunderstorm by J Lee

Disappointments are to the soul
what the thunderstorm is to the air.

Friedrich von Schiller

I feel every rejection as a failure and a disappointment.
I trust that they are cleansing my soul and creating new
opportunities....but it does not feel that way.

failure and opportunity....

Scar Tree by C H Paquette

From the Tao Te Ching...

Failure is an opportunity.
If you blame someone else,
there is no end to the blame.

Therefore the Master
fulfills his own obligations
and corrects his own mistakes.
He does what he needs to do
and demands nothing of others.

From Confucius...

In the archer there is a resemblance to the mature person.
When he misses the mark, he turns and seeks the reason
for his failure in himself.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Book of the Week...

The Education of a Photographer
Edited by Charles H Traub, Steven Heller, Adam B Bell
(2006 Allworth Press, New York)

The best photography book I read this year....a collection of writings from a diverse group of photographers and writers discussing what it means to be a photographer.

One of my favorite essays is The Camera Mind and Minor White

A mind specially blank-how can we describe it to one who has not experienced it? "Sensitive" is one word. "Sensitized" is better, because there is not only a sensitive mind at work but there is effort on the part of the photographer to reach such a condition. "Sympathetic" is fair, if we mean by it an openness of mind which in turn leads to comprehending, understanding everything seen.

Friday, November 23, 2007

first snow....

First Snow by Linear Edges

The first snow of the year is always exciting to me. Even if it is only a couple flakes. The photographer Linear Edges took this photo of the first snow of the year, which was also his daughter's very first snow ever. I guess we don't remember our first first snow, and we probably do not realize the moment when we are seeing our last first snow... maybe it's important to notice the first snow of every year, and feel it's joy.

First white snow of fall
Just enough to bend
The leaves
Of faded daffodils.


Monday, November 19, 2007


Berry Patch by patty cake melting

You turn and suddenly
there in purpling
Autumn sky...
bright red berry patch.


Sunday, November 18, 2007

the bones....

Falling Through by girl.x

Autumn.... your skeleton is beginning to show through.

girl.x has a beautiful way of creating art from the everyday roadside of life. She has a special talent with Polaroid film, titles, and music selections.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Yellow Cow of Autumn...

Got Ginko? by Karen Breitenbach

Have you noticed that Autumn is like a yellow cow?
.... Karen has!

Karen Breitenbach loves to wander and explore the abandoned ruins of rust belt city buildings and institutions, and in these places she finds artistic beauty. She has a remarkable eye for detail and composition.

Book of the Week

The Book of Questions by Pablo Neruda
(Copper Canyon Press 1991)

Have you noticed that Autumn
is like a yellow cow?

And how later the Autumnal beast
is a dark skeleton?

And how Winter collects
so many layers of blue?

And who asked Springtime
for it's kingdom of clear air?

Thursday, November 15, 2007

lilac wine

I Drink History Like Wine by Durruti Column

This image immediately reminded me of the Jeff Buckley version of the song Lilac Wine

Durruti Column lives in Montreal. I have been fascinated by his work for almost a year now.... his crisp minimalist photography and his haunting off-focus nudes....not to mention we share a love of Pablo Neruda poetry.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


November Woods by J Randall Updegrove

I love this photo for many reasons... technically for the composition and the light. The way the back light streams through the trees in bands across the grasses. Emotionally it speaks of places I have walked in the Fall. This was taken in Montana, but it could just as easily be Pennsylvania or Minnesota or New England. Walking and meandering... stopping to call for the dog.... to take in the scene...and bathe in the color and light of Autumn.

Monday, November 12, 2007


Untitled by tony soko

Swallows Flying South...
My House Too
Of Sticks and Paper
Only a Stopping Place

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Book of the Week

Tao of Photography
by Tom Ang
(Amphoto Book; New York 2000)

A wonderful book that explores the ways in which Taoist concepts can breathe new life into our photography.

Thursday, November 8, 2007


Autumn Bells by Rana Pipiens

It finally feels like true Autumn here in the Mid-Atlantic section of the United States.... we are having our first dose of killing frost these past few nights, and the last of my Basil plants will soon turn black and die off. It was a good long growing season for my veggie and herb garden and now I need to get moving on preparing the beds for winter.

When I first saw this photograph by Rana Pipiens I assumed it was a leftover photo from the Spring until I read the title as Autumn Bells.
I have never seen this plant before. Such a lovely flower for this time of year, and a wonderful photograph.

radical domestic imperfection.....

I love that concept! I first read those words in the New York Times on 11.1.07 and they have stuck with me. This is about stepping back and doing without for the sake of the family and the environment.

Here is an excellent essay written by Shannon Hayes that describes her journey towards radical domestic imperfection....

Homespun Mom Comes Unraveled

Adirondack Semester

From a New York Times article on 11.7.07....
Living The Wild Life at College

St. Lawrence University students can spend an entire 16 week semester in the Adirondack wilderness, living in a Yurt village. The students take classes in nature writing, the ecology of the Adirondacks and woodworking, as well as a crash course in outdoor survival prior to the actual outdoor living experience. University professors make the one hour drive from campus for classes, canoeing across the lake to the student's site.
They hold classes outdoors or, in bad weather, in a yurt outfitted with a wood stove.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


raindrop vision by C.H.Paquette

sometimes it's our darkest and rainiest days that show us clarity and reason

Saturday, November 3, 2007

things noticed...

tiny treasure by bvshort

How often do we rush through life without noticing the small beautiful details? Even on a walk in the woods I can be in a rush or preoccupied with worries and so I miss the small miracles around me. bvshort is a photographer who captures the small wonders that surround her. Her nature photographs are intimate portraits... capturing flowers and animals as someone would photograph a loved one.

Book of the Week

In The Absence of the Sacred by Jerry Mander (Sierra Club Books; 1991)

The natural world is really slow. Save for the waving of trees in the wind, or the occasional animal movement, things barely happen at all. To experience nature, to feel it's subtleties, requires human perceptual ability that is capable of slowness. It requires that human beings approach the experience with patience and calm.
(page 86)

I love this book, as well as Mander's other classic Four Arguments for the Elimination of Television. Although I have many Luddite tendencies, I still watch TV, love my Blackberry, and couldn't survive without my computer and the internet.
While this book focuses mostly on Television... the internet, instant messaging, and Blackberry technology didn't exist as we know it today when the book was written...Mander's arguments and warnings are even more pertinent in today's world.

Friday, November 2, 2007


Cherry Tomatoes by C H Paquette

..hardly a month goes by without another urbanite declaring his intention to eat locally in order to save his family and the planet (and write a pastoral memoir and secure a book deal).
Penelope Green (On the Farm; New York Times; 11/1/07)

I'm all for the Buy Local movement... it just makes me wonder how many people (retailers and consumers) are using it as just another way to soothe their eco-conscience. Whole Foods allows a few local vendors to set up farm stands out in the parking lot a couple hours a week so that Mom can manage to buy a few tomatoes from the local farm stand and now everybody feels better...

As we come to the end of this year's growing season, why not start planning to grow your own produce next year. It could be as simple as one tomato plant in a container, or an entire backyard mini farm. It doesn't matter. What does matter is the discovery that the finest tasting veggies are the ones you pick from your own backyard, and that there is no better sense of community than walking across the street to give your neighbor a basket of goodies you just plucked from the soil.

Those of us who are long time vegetable gardeners have always participated in the Buy Local philosophy...

In a healthy town every family can grow vegetables for itself. The time is past to think of this as a hobby for enthusiasts; it is a fundamental part of human life.
Christopher Alexander (A Pattern Language; 1977)

Thursday, November 1, 2007

favorite things....

Portrait by tonysoko

I did not bother to read the description to this photograph the first time I saw it, I just immediately loved it. It must have been something that touched me on a subconscious level. I went back to look at it again later and only then did I realize that this is a portrait of two of tonysoko's
most recent acquisitions.... a vintage Polaroid 100 and a copy of The Polaroid Book. Look closely and you will see them.

tonysoko has a very unique vision and talent as a photographer, and his Polaroid work has a wonderful meditative quality to it. He also has excellent taste in books and cameras!

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

every precious second.....

Photo byLinear Edges

This photograph struck me when I first saw it a few days ago.It was taken out of the 9th floor window of a building....the leaf was carried on warm updrafts, by itself, and floated right in front of the photographer. A single leaf flying in a cloudless sky....dancing in front of the photographer's window. Had he been staring at his computer, or watching TV, or shuffling papers, he would have missed this small miracle. Instead, he was staring out of his window, maybe daydreaming, maybe thinking of someone he hasn't seen in a long time....someone he should talk to....tell them how much they mean to him...

We all need to just stare out of our windows from time to time......

In this short Life
That only lasts an hour
How much-how little-is
Within our power

Emily Dickinson (1873)

Monday, October 29, 2007

painting across time...

Thimble Jellies

A flock of mini pepper-pots
they float in cornflower blue
blowing kisses at the sky.

The red-brown cloud at their centres
is alive, hungry for the light
that has pierced the skin of the sea.

Over the weekend Harald Schmid submitted his Corn Flower photograph. Harald lives in Austria and took this photograph in 1977. I knew I wanted to post this image as soon as I saw it but I felt it needed a poem to go with it.

This morning Fiona Robyn, who lives in Hampshire, England sent me her Thimble Jellies poem and it immediately felt right for Harald's photograph. Fiona writes beautiful minimalist poetry on a small stone

30 years later and from many miles away....Fiona has given Harald's flowers the colour they were searching for....

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Visual Poetry...

The Dream to Lower Stairs... by J.Gual

Jordi Gual from Barcelona, Spain is one of the most visually poetic photographers I know. He tells me that there are images that do not need words
.... true indeed when the photograph speaks directly to the soul.

(This also speaks directly to my Undesigning the Bath heart...)

Saturday, October 27, 2007


Photo by Nina Sabatino

Fall has always been my favorite time of year. I recently had a conversation with a friend who mentioned the concept of Fall being the beginning of the year instead of the end of the year as most of us are conditioned to accept it to be. We designate days and months and seasons as a way to count the passage of time, but is there really a beginning or end of the year? All things are incomplete.....we can designate our own beginnings and endings as they suit our individual experiences. My favorite outdoor experiences have always occurred in the Fall and so it represents for me a renewal of spirit and re-connecting with the earth and the power and awe of nature.
This renewal carries me through the long cold winter months until the warmth of Spring.

yes.... Fall is a new beginning

Book of the Week...

Undesigning the Bath by Leonard Koren
(1996 Stone Bridge Press; Berkeley, Ca.)

This book was a recent gift from a friend who found it in a used bookstore, and said it reminded her of me. Let me just say that I have never read a book that so closely paralleled my own feelings towards bathroom design (or Undesign).

Why are most designers (architectural, interior, or industrial) incapable of creating deeply satisfying bathing environments? Because the key metaphors of design- efficiency, slick modernity, overwhelming visual appeal- are antagonistic to a profound bathing experience. Extraordinary baths instead are complex and distinctly elemental: earthy, sensual, and animistic. They are created by natural geological processes or by composers of sensory stimulation working in an intuitive, poetic, open-minded-undesign-manner.

What an interesting way to re-define my job description as a bath designer... a composer of sensory stimulation, working intuitively and poetically.Now if I could only find more open-minded clients...

(note- Leonard Koren also wrote Wabi-Sabi for Artists, Designers, Poets & Philosophers 1994 Stone Bridge Press....what I would consider the core textbook of western wabi-sabi study)

Friday, October 26, 2007

words of wisdom...

Broken Flower by dbarkan

David Barkan is a photography student from Sao Paulo, Brasil...

Under this very nice 35 mm photograph David posted the following quote from Daisaku Ikeda ...

You must not for one instant give up the effort to build new lives for yourselves. Creativity means to push open the heavy, groaning doorway to life. This is not an easy struggle. Indeed, it may be the most difficult task in the world, for opening the door to your own life is, in the end, more difficult than opening the doors to the mysteries of the universe

This is such an appropriate quote to post today and it brings thoughts of all of those who are losing houses in the California Wildfires, and those who still struggle to rebuild lives in New Orleans and Indonesia. Don't we all have doors we must push open?

More Daisaku Ikeda Wisdom

In balance....

Rocks by bebalance

It took me a long time to accept the fact that Bill Dan could really do the things in his photographs. I was convinced they were photoshopped. I have no clue how someone could be so finely tuned into the laws of gravity that they could produce art such as this, but it reminds me of one of my favorite chapters from the Tao te Ching...

The Master does his job
and then stops
He understands that the universe
is forever out of control,
and that trying to dominate events
goes against the current of the Tao.
Because he believes in himself,
he doesn't try to convince others.
Because he is content with himself,
he doesn't need other's approval.
Because he accepts himself,
the whole world accepts him.

Pine memories...

santa ynez pines... by Sol-exposure

This lovely Polaroid Transfer immediately brings to mind the resin covered little pine cones scattered throughout the Minnesota North Woods that burn with bursts of life giving warmth in the evening campfire, and the incredible smell of New Mexican Pinon pine, one of my favorite aromas in the world.

Welcome to Wabi Blogi.....

The search for truth in the observation of nature...

-all things are impermanent
-all things are imperfect
-all things are incomplete