Translating the essence of poetry into the most captivating visual forms, Cynthia Chace Gray, an American landscape photographer, has a very different creative process. She collaborates with Aden Thomas, a renowned poet from Wyoming, in order to produce each of her intriguing landscapes. Through this partnership of written word and the visual, Gray creates an experience infused with mystery and a sense of discovery.
We asked her more about this dialogue between two of the most beautiful art forms – visual art and poetry.
Your works are a collaboration between art and poetry. How did you come to discover this link?
Images appeal directly to our sense of sight, while poetry appeals directly to our sense of sound. Indirectly, both images and poetry can appeal to the other three senses of smell, taste, and touch. One day, during a conversation, Aden Thomas and I realized that by fusing images with words, we could appeal to the most magical, sublime, and transcendental of all the senses – that of intuition.
We were both admirers of the poet Stanley Kunitz, and within a few days, observing each other’s work, we came upon the idea that there could be a real power in combining images and words together.
Get first and exclusive access to Agora Gallery’s news, exhibitions, and artists by signing up to our newsletter.
What’s behind the artistic process of unifying, or coalescing, an image with text? How do you decide on the titles?
Aden and I generally work through email. Sometimes, the image comes before the poem and sometimes the poem comes before the image. When the two come together, it’s like discovering fire for the first time every single time.
The titles are taken from the titles of the poems, which generally reflect the intuitive underpinning of each of the pieces.
You never manipulate your images. Why is authenticity so important to you?
When I take a picture, I try to capture a moment in time as it is. I want to portray the essence of a particular subject matter at a specific moment in my photographs. What is captured is what it is. For me, to influence that moment by altering the picture is not authentic. The picture no longer is about the essence or subject, it becomes my creation and my vision of that moment in time and space and matter rather than the actual.
Your latest series is centered around the theme of Illumination: illumination of the soul, nature, and the visual world. How has working on the series illuminated your own life?
As I capture a moment, there is an intrinsic relationship between intentionality and authenticity which in turn creates an illumination. Each work is a question, perhaps with an answer but more importantly leading to an answer within one’s heart. Illumination comes to us, in different forms. An “aha ” moment, a direct lighting of a way, perhaps a sliver that opens up and illuminates a path.
My life in Wyoming is about spirituality and about finding those paths and appreciating them. It is a life dedicated to being authentic, intentional and my relationship with the Divine. This project allows me to live at the thinnest veil, to seek enlightenment, to take pictures that illuminate my life and hopefully others, every day.
Collectors often relate to the art they buy emotionally, and more often than not, it is because they identify with the artist’s process. Whether you are looking to decorate an entire home, complete a room, or add vitality and professional credibility to an office space you will find the perfect piece on ARTmine. Need help in finding the perfect piece that really speaks to you? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Gray’s photographs (along with the accompanying poems) are currently on view until November 30th, 2016, as part of the Illumination: An Exhibition Of Fine Art Photography. You can view more of Cynthia’s poetic works on her ARTmine page. You can also read more about her on her artist page on the Agora Gallery website.