Featured Photograph: Rock Sculpture Embrace
I just devoted the last seven months (March-October 2008) to a creative project in two new mediums for me – a song and music video called Choose To Unite. This was new in that I've never written or produced a song or music video before (not to mention becoming a community organizer in the process!). And it was the same, really, from the standpoint that I worked in the same way I always have... following the inspiration and call, navigating the unknown by being being open and allowing myself to be guided each step of the way.
I was wondering when this recent project would start integrating into what I've always done, and it has just started to, remarkably, through the above image, Rock Sculpture Embrace. It was the first photograph I made in what would become a signature style of layering images (pre-Photoshop, the old fashioned way) following a transformational career shift from banking in Chicago to artist in the Southwest.
On a recent walk, lines from the Choose To Unite song ran through my mind: "We have a chance to create a new day; the path of Oneness is the highest way." And I then flashed on Rock Sculpture Embrace, and a comment that was made about it at least ten years ago: "It portrays both a disintegration, dissolution of the old and the birth of the new. The ancient rock is crumbling and decaying; the embryonic figure in the rock speaks of birthing a new way of being. This is happening at a cellular level."
I flashed on the summary statement I printed about this image on a note card: "The seamless blending of Rock and Body in Rock Sculpture Embrace portrays the One Connection between all things." While it is true to say that all the SoulScapes images portray the interconnection of all aspects of creation, this first SoulScapes image perhaps offers the most dramatic embodiment of the theme.
I love the magic of the free flowing mind — associating lines in this recent song (2008) and this early (1991) image, both embodying the themes of New Birth and Oneness. And then I realized, this is precisely where we are in this moment in time. Barack Obama has just been elected our 44th President, the old structures and ways that no longer work are crumbling, and we are actively participating in ushering in a new day / way.
SoulScapes & Jung
The biggest challenge in my 20 year SoulScapes journey has been articulating what SoulScapes are, since they go beyond straight images, and beyond words, for that matter! I recently happened upon this quote from C.G. Jung, and felt an affirmation of at least one aspect of the SoulScapes images – their archetypal nature:
"Whoever speaks in primordial images speaks with a thousand voices. . . This is the secret of great art. . . the unconscious activation of an archetypal image and. . . elaborating and shaping this image into the finished work. By giving it shape, the artist translates it into the language of the present, so makes it possible for us to find our way back to the deepest springs of life. Therein lies the social significance of art; the artist is constantly at work educating the spirit of the age, conjuring up the forms in which the age is most lacking. The. . . artist reaches back to the primordial image. . . seizes on this image, and . . . brings it into relation with conscious values, thereby transforming it until it can be accepted by the minds of his contemporaries according to their powers."
I have kept a minimal public & web presence for SoulScapes for the past five years, as the work has been developing/deepening. This website is a seedling work in progress to begin integrating various aspects in what has been gestating... which surely will gain more clarity and fullness as the work continues to reveal itself over time.
"Susan Slotter has the eye of a visionary, the heart of a mystic, and the touch of an impeccable craftsman. Her work embodies majesty and meaning... it is a healing force for anyone who experiences it." Larry Dossey, MD