Photography In Celebration

Not so long ago I went on a walk with a friend who had had a great loss. We walked to Rat Lake. (What a name: so rich with speculative possibility!) Halfway around the lake we came to an opening in the shoreline tangle and paused, she standing at the edge of the water and I perched on a nearby picnic table. We settled, silent and almost motionless, for about half an hour. About us flew and hovered and buzzed clouds of iridescent blue dragonflies. It was like being enveloped in a swirling mist of tender magic. As we were thinking about leaving, a single dragonfly came up to me, hovered about two feet from my face and stared at me. He stayed in that spot for what seemed like minutes, his compound eyes oriented directly toward me. He then moved off a bit to the side, I could hear him just out of my sight, and then back to look at me directly again.

It was a moment so full, so poignant, so communicative, that I was almost overcome. For a brief time there was an overlapping of consciousness. The dragonfly and I, in a mysterious and indescribable way, sharing our worlds.

I call this website Photography In Celebration. It is a celebration of the joy and wonder of this most beautiful earth. This is not a naive celebration of beauty. There are people, millions, for whom each day on this earth is a day of terror or pain. By random selection, some of us are gifted with lives relatively free of suffering, while others are drenched in it. I feel strongly that those of us who are able have a joyful duty to celebrate the beauty and wonder of this life that we are honoured to experience.

Sometimes this takes a little practise. But it is not difficult. There is breath-stealing beauty everywhere. Mary Oliver shows the way as she describes herself as born “to instruct myself over and over in joy and acclamation”.

It has been said that the deeper one feels suffering the deeper one can feel joy. I feel that to refuse joy dishonours those to whom it is denied. Jack Gilbert puts it beautifully: “We must have the stubborness to accept our gladness in the ruthless furnace of this world.”

So the photography and writing in this website come from my heart and are a celebration of the joy, happiness, and curiosity which I experience in encountering the beauties of this planet. I hope that you enjoy it.

Gillian Reece