FROM METAPHOR TO METAPHYSICS
Location: McKee Gardens, Vero Beach FL
Photo: © 2007 Jeffrey Berger
What title should I give this photo? To call it a lotus seems too profane. For Egyptians, Hindus, and Buddhists, the lotus is the embodiment of the sacred. Since the flower retracts each night and rises and reopens each dawn, the lotus serves as a symbol for creation, death, and rebirth - for the journey of consciousness in the field of time.
Perhaps the title should invite the viewer to see the shape of a womb where the petiole ascends to the upper leaf. Perhaps the title should suggest creation in the water droplet. Any kid with a toy microscope and a nearby pond will tell you: There is a universe inside every droplet – a menagerie of teeming protozoa, daphnia, and rotifers.
In illo tempore. A scarab beetle emerges from the mud of the Nile; a mighty wind sweeps over a primordial abyss; eons of time pass in the wink of an eye as Brahma sits atop a lotus blossom. Every beginning begins with a word, a dream, a vision, a thought.
Notice the debris inside the water droplet and the vague reflection of the photographer. It reveals something about my relationship to the subject. Heisenberg might approve - this idea of observer as part of the observed system, of facts that can only be subjective, of different explanations of the same phenomenon. Thoughts radiate along vascular paths to the edges of space and time.
Perhaps a title can misrepresent an image. Is my point one of certainty or doubt, of insight or incredulity? Is the title an affectation? Why not invoke the inherited symbolism of a lotus!
Sometimes a title should take our speculative imagination beyond the temporal image.