Maple branches are turning red. I heard peepers in the pond. A friend reports the green tops of crocus, though she said her children carefully raked away snow and made a little rock fence around the sacred area by the door so nobody would step there. Almost spring, but to get me closer to its spirit I just saw thirty or so big photographs of beautiful places that Anne Whiston Spira, professor of landscape architecture and planning at MIT, took around the world. The photographer and writer has received a Guggenheim Fellowship and an international Cosmos Prize for “contributions to the harmonious coexistence of nature and humankind.” She writes, “Photography is to seeing what poetry is to writing; a concentrated way of thinking, a condensed telling, a disciplined practice that may produce insight.” Here are two examples of her work from over the past thirty-five years.
Mount Rokko Chapel, Kobe, Japan, July 1990
Skaftafellsjökull (Vatnajökull), Iceland
Anne Whiston Spira writes: “Why a door and not a window? A window is something to look through, but a door is something to pass through; crossing a threshold, one enters a new place. To see, to really see, is to open a door. To pass through that door is to arrive at a new understanding.” More pictures can be seen on the website, but if you can get to Northampton, MA before August 31, you can have the treat of seeing pictures longer than your outstretched arms, full of detail, at the Smith College Museum of Art.