In ‘Wild women of the woods’, I enter more fully in to my offering. Working with a group of women on a one to one basis my offer to them was to bear witness photographically to their own personal relationship to the land. I asked them to take me to a place they were familiar with, somewhere they went to recharge or connect. Here they were invited to sit or to move, feeling in to their experience of themselves in relation to the landscape.
The resulting images form an expression of this connection. Along with the accompanying text which provides an inner account of each woman’s individual experience.
Quotes from participants:
Wild 3: ‘This body is pure creation, a holographic image of profound connection to nature and to Boundless Universal Essence’.
Wild 8: ‘I felt at ease walking in this new land, connected to the Earth, same everywhere we go. I had the image of water, so it made total sense to look for a stream…Open air valleys, the wish just to walk along these lines…The first encounter with a tree, with all these curves and spirals, entanglements, trying to adapt my shape to its shape, to find common shapes and belongings. It felt good to stretch, to open my chest and throat, to feel my arms’ pull, allowing my arms to hang from different branches. Also then to come lower, and simply relax lying down on its huge root. What is the easiest, effortless way to lie down and make contact? Come to stillness, relax, deepen…From there I went to the water, cold water, not so inviting (my body still tense and my mind still active…guess I would need more time? more movement? more warmth?), but beautiful to feel and hear it…Water, change, flowing, emotional release, trust…I felt I needed to go up, and there I found this tree with such shape…Yes, I want to lie down on top of it, like a panther or a sloth! Adapting my body shape to its shape, feeling its contours, allowing myself just to be. Sometimes feeling the sunshine on my face or a part of my body…Playing, stretching, smiling, adapting’.
Wild 5: ‘Guided by smell and touch, all senses alive. Eyes sometimes closed. Feeling of support and always a branch in reach. Resistance to letting go and falling through the layers – hanging out on the periphery and then the song’s chorus burst forth bringing my naked spine to the wet trunk – ecstatic life-filled energy rising up from toes to fingers – long length of body pinned to the tree – Easter Saturday – Jesus dying on the cross – old self dying – falling through the layers – forgetting there’s a camera – forgetting there’s someone always watching someone always telling you how to be and how to act just in case you get seen and crucified. Life giving sap rising as spine comes into contact with the tree, arms like branches reaching to ever available tree limbs – to hold onto – always within reach – relaxing into this new beat – this new timeless beat of ‘being’. Skin exposed to cool spring air and at the same time wrapped in a kind of dream-like cloth protecting a fragile dance with raw nature’.
Wild 13: ‘I was given a different perspective on the woods. By becoming part of the woods, woven around, between, in, it then became part of me. I could really “feel” everything around me when we were walking afterwards through the trees. Instead of just seeing with my eyes and smelling with my nose it was like I was now connected with the environment. All of my senses active. I was looking at a plant that had grown along the forest floor and it was like I was feeling it against my skin, feeling its texture, at the same time as seeing and smelling it too. Full connection with Papatūānuku – mother earth – the giver of life’.
Wild 9: ‘At first I am very aware of being seen, observed and feelings of shyness arises. I notice old stories surfacing around being a ‘show off’ and I wonder should I move in a way that looks beautiful or should I let go of trying? Then something shifts and I start to relax and feel more present with the tree. Childlike feelings of play and wonder arise as I start to follow impulses to swing and climb. Like an adventurer I feel excited as I explore my limits, going to and dancing with the edge’.