In the fall of 2008, we were living on the banks of Rock Creek, a wild stream in the mountains of North Carolina. One day, Kiesa loaned me her Nikon point-and-shoot, and I went across the road and took pictures of some very small maple leaves fallen on a pile of rocks. When I returned home and loaded the pictures on the computer, they seemed more beautiful than I could have imagined. Until that day, I had thought of myself as a poet. But looking at those images, I knew I had found the poetry I wanted to write. For the rest of my life. Light poems.
I hiked and rock-hopped that stream for almost a year. It was my first obsession. Almost every day, I would stumble out the door with the camera and a backpack full of warm clothes and a lunch. I would be gone all day and come home exhausted but happy. I started learning about post-processing and PhotoShop. I took classes and bought books. When I wore out Kiesa’s camera, I bought my own, a Canon 5D2. It was a huge investment. And a great camera that now, three years later, I’m still learning to use.
At some point, I felt I had “mined out” Rock Creek, and went through a time of depression that I’ve come to recognize as part of my creative cycle. We moved to a new home about then on the banks of the South Toe River. Many stretches of the river were calm and I became entranced by the reflections in the water. It was the birth of another obsession. Reflections in the South Toe.
Later, we rented a house on a ranch outside of town and I began shooting the grasses and wildflowers. I was in the west pasture one day when I suddenly started to “see” the little plants in a new way. They were not “objects” to photograph. They were totally alive. They were — each of them — alive with their own unique lives in their own unique places, each of them living out their own unique relationships with all the other plants and animals and the earth and sky all around them. I thought I was taking pictures of God.
Joe Mulligan, 117 Park Ave., Muscatine, IA 52761
joemulliganphoto (at) yahoo (dot) com This format used to avoid spam. Please use standard email format: firstname.lastname@example.org