June 14, 2011, the Tate Britain, London. If I had to pick one favorite artist, it would be J.M.W. Turner. I think of his work as the bridge between Romanticism and Impressionism and in my opinion he often outdid both. I find his later work, especially, to be transcendent.
In June 2011, my wife, nephew, and I went to Europe to visit family, surf (one of us), hike, and absorb culture. The first stop was London and among the many museums we visited were both Tates. In the Tate Modern I bathed in Rothko. In the Tate Britain I basked in Turner.
Of course we saw all the famous Turners — which tend toward the Romantic — and while my eyes absorbed the glow, another sense was denied: it took tremendous willpower to resist touching the almost mystical brushwork. I was reverent. Motionless. But a bit of a draft caught my attention.
I followed it to a small gallery off to the side and there was the most memorable treasure of all: a generous selection of unfinished works whose swirling, twisting, billowing, multi-colored motion did things to time and space that can only be shown; never spoken. My nephew and I were the only two in the room. We sat in silence as the brushstrokes became vanes that seemed to move the air around us. But there was not a sound.
My wife captured the moment.
It seemed sacrilegious to photograph the strokes close-up, but I had to see and preserve them for later study of how he did it — so I did make a few clicks. Folly. I’m not Turner. Never will be. But I can admire.
September 6, 2018, McKinney Bay, Lake Tahoe. The post-sunset alpenglow was a perfect opportunity to shoot some intentional-camera-movement abstracts. Many were shot; few were chosen. Most were shot with a full 180-degree turn, but on this one I stopped halfway. An unfinished turn. A streak of light from the marina next door followed the sweep, providing a just a bit of counterpoint.
I was reminded of Turner and wondered what he would have done with a camera.
(Museum shots: Canon S95. Tahoe shot: Nikon D850; Tamron SP 24-70mm f/2.8 Di VC USD G2.)