Happy New Year to all my friends and readers of Hati and Skoll. Thank you all for your continued support and interest.
Last New Year I spoke about two things: the tabula rasa (the blank slate) and paths.
The tabula rasa is a concept attributed to the political philosopher John Locke (1632-1704) – the belief that the mind of a new born is like a blank slate. In reality, I think, that new years are like new minds in that they have both a component of blankness of infinite possibility and a component that is preset by the events of the past. If you focus on political news events, the past year was simply terrible and that excess baggage follows us into 2016. It is not enough to wish it all away; we have to consciously push it away. If instead you focus on scientific, technological, and intellectual accomplishment this past year was a shiner. That dichotomy is what defines our less than perfect race. Of course, the concept that the New Year is a New Beginning is itself artificial.
There is also a curious paradox when you consider the blank slate in photographic terms. Is a white slate from which we subtract or a black slate to which we add? Historiacally in photography you start with whiteness and build up an absorbant layer of silver. But in digital photograph, it goes the other way. There is nothing in the electron wells and light builds these up.
As for paths, the New Year is exciting. We don’t know which path we will take; so we just put a foot forward at a time and trust to the vagaries of serendipity and light. For that reason I have chosen Figure 1 – the second of my phot-pictorialism studies to lead Hati and Skoll isnto the New Year. The path is there beckoning. But the details are not clear yet. There is fog and noise, but we are starting to write on the tabula rasa of 2016. Approach the future with dignity and grace, with confidence and hope. What more can we ask of ourselves?