Lynne Buchanan: The Poetry of Being


I was inspired to begin this series of images during lockdown in the first Covid wave, when I was seeking to stay connected with life in a period of profound isolation.  For four months, I took my elderly mother out of her congregate living facility and into my home to keep her safe before vaccines became available. At the same time, some family members and friends were seriously impacted by the pandemic both physically and mentally and also required my support. 

Photographing daily on my mountain ridge and in nearby natural areas made and continues to make me feel more balanced and grounded. When I witness aspects of nature that have hung on through illness and physical harm, it gives me the strength to keep going. Nature heals my soul by reminding me how interconnected existence is, and how traces of energy remain and future growth is supported even after lifeforms return to the earth.

The often lyrical way Mother Earth teaches us about the stages of life and death helps me live with what is happening to the planet and cope with mortality.  Photographing ordinary things in my immediate environment taught me compassion for all living things, especially those that have been harmed or are different, as well as how to celebrate every stage of being, including the transition to non-existence.

As I age, I find I am more interested in expressing my emotional response to the fragility and perseverance of nature, versus an idealized version of the environment. My images include traces of what was, things still hanging on, the effects of climate change and human impact, and the cycle of life which includes decline and death, while also celebrating the commonplace since all of life is precious. I am drawn to burls, scars, and other physical disconformities that evoke a history of experiences. 

The magic of light is always a focus, whether it is how it can transform the ordinary into the extraordinary or whether it evokes the manifestation of the spiritual in the material.  Shadows are important too, as light would not be known without darkness and aspects of scenes that are not yet fully illuminated contain emergent possibilities. 

Time is a unifying theme, because my photographs celebrate the present, while including elements such as roots that suggest the past, water which is a continuum, and paths that serve as portals leading to a more hopeful future in these challenging times. In making these images, I strove to convey the lyricism of being and to create art that by-passed labels and my analytical mind and went straight to the heart of what is. Less increasingly became more, and explicative language began to feel inappropriate when attempting to describe why I was drawn to certain subjects.  I began forming haikus in my mind as I was looking at the landscape before me. The idea for a book began to percolate. 

Read the rest of Lynne Buchanan's introduction in The Poetry of Being.

Lynne Buchanan

Lynne Buchanan is an award winning photographer who has been featured in numerous solo and group exhibitions in museums and galleries across the United States, as well as in Athens, Greece.