I have been watching David Morris Cunningham’s photographic journey for several years. David shows a clarity of vision and artistic sensibility that I admire.
David’s favorite quote is from Matsuo Basho: ‘The haiku that reveals seventy to eighty percent is good. Those that reveal fifty or sixty percent, we never tire of.’
Here is what David has to say about his photography:
My journey through the haiku lens began in February, 2008 while participating in the workshop, ‘Zen and the Art of Photography.’ It was a journey I had sensed coming but had no idea the breadth it would entail. Sprinkled throughout my early work were clues as to the direction I would someday travel, but it was during that week in Santa Fe that I became aware of the path I was to walk. A path so simple the challenge seemed (and still seems) daunting.
During the months that followed the workshop, belief systems were tested, transformed, abandoned and sown. Thoughts and ideas slowly coalesced. A new understanding began to emerge.
The notion of using my camera to make a visual haiku quietly found its way to the edge of my awareness. The idea excited me. Instead of making a picture speak a thousand words, I would work to make an image whisper seventeen syllables.
Made in 2008 at the Zen and the Art of Photography workshop in Santa Fe, I consider this image to be the image that began my journey through The Haiku Lens. During the workshop I consciously began to strip away the extraneous within the frame that I felt were distractions to rather than elements of the photograph.
I made this image while working on a project where I forced myself to notice of the moments of beauty at my feet. It was a photograph I made several years ago but didn’t process until somewhat recently. These images are usually windows into my future; a part of a body of work that I didn’t realize I was working on when I initially pressed the shutter release.
I’ve always been a huge fan of abstract painting and photography. With this image I entered a more abstract phase of my work; the first photograph that successfully bridged the gap between the more realistic and the abstract. By making an image of a tangible object in such a way that the photograph becomes somewhat mysterious slightly altered my way of seeing and recording the world around me.
Another subject that has always interested me is the play between shadow and light and geometry. Diagonals is a photograph that serves as another bridge in my evolving process, stripping away the subject and synthesizing the image down to the elements of light, shadow and geometry.
Rice Paper and Bamboo #2
This image belongs to my latest body of work. The series consists of photographs made using a rice paper shade as the canvas for my further study of the interplay between shadow and light; creating a piece of work that contains several “windows”, each one working alone and as a collective whole.
DAVID MORRIS CUNNINGHAM
PO Box 1426
Woodstock, NY 12498
By Jim McKinniss