G. Dan Mitchell, a man I’m happy to call a friend (even if I haven’t seen him in forever), is a wonderful photographer and talented teacher. He’s way more disciplined than I am, posting images daily and even coming up with “Morning Musings”, an idea he lifted from The Online Photographer. This morning’s musing triggered a memory of a poem I shared here once before by Alexander Pope. You can read it in its entirety at the link below the following excerpt.
Consult the genius of the place in all;
That tells the waters or to rise, or fall;
Or helps th’ ambitious hill the heav’ns to scale,
Or scoops in circling theatres the vale;
Calls in the country, catches opening glades,
Joins willing woods, and varies shades from shades,
Now breaks, or now directs, th’ intending lines;
Paints as you plant, and, as you work, designs.
Whether you take the concept of a genius loci literally or figuratively doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you get to know a place intimately, and the best way to do that is to spend time there. Some folks (like Dan) can spend a quiet hour, and emerge with images that convey a connection to the genius loci.
In closing, I think it’s worth noting that Alexander Pope was in the habit of writing lengthy poems to friends as letters. How cool is that? This particular excerpt is advice on landscape architecture.