Hence in a season of calm weather
Though inland far we be,
Our souls have sight of that immortal sea
Which brought us hither

From Intimations of Immortality by William Wordsworth


I like to ride my bicycle around town. As I ride and photograph, I muse, remember, take deep ecstatic breaths which merge this world and the worlds beyond.

I believe in other realities, ones we can't see or touch. There are thin places between these worlds where we get glimpses, feel a numinous presence, if only for an instant. For me, shadows are symbols of these other worlds, intimations of realities unseen. The beauty of the shadow can exceed that of the “real” object which casts it. The reality that I cannot see is more meaningful than this material world.

Shadows evoke a darkness, a mystery, signifying the other side of reason. The shadow is that part of oneself that hasn't been brought to consciousness. It's unknown, a phantom, dangerous or frightening. But the discovery of what is can also be exhilarating and profound.

Pictorially, I'm attracted to the idea that the environment which surrounds me is contained in the photograph by virtue of the shadows, at times including my own silhouette. The viewer stands between the environment and the photograph, thus participating in the spatial dialogue. Therefore, although the photographs seem to have a shallow field, the field expands toward the viewer instead of away from her/him. The eye travels back and forth between the real, the background, and the shadow plane, the intimation of reality.


Phyllis Finley © 2006 all rights reserved