Innocence, Sacred Geometry and Photography

Nature is based on sacred geometry, fractal patterns that form endless shapes; the bend of a blade of grass, the jagged shape of a mountain or water flowing. Close or far, the same geometry holds. Of course, as a dyslectic child, I was unaware of this, but it was there, implicit in the very nature of my body and the way my eyes create its visual reality.

The symbolic alphabet was confusing. I would stare at the page and letters would literally float of the page. Nature was more stable, so I naturally picked up my first camera at age ten or eleven. In high school photography was considered a science. The choice between photography and biology was simple. The properties of light, f/stops, chemical interactions, light sensitive emulsions, filters, film speeds and more built a technical foundation, much like a painter mastering mixing colors. My technical skills were strong. This led to my first real job selling cameras and later becoming a studio portrait photographer at the local cameras shop, followed by shooting weddings and other commercial gigs.

In junior college, film and television production took the place of chemistry. Later still, I added theater as a minor and graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science degree from the local university, all the while taking tens of thousands of images, rejecting nearly all of them. Unconsciously, below my level of awareness, something preferred one image over all the rest. As the years passed walking with a camera became a meditation. This nonverbal awareness of ratio, proportion, pattern and composition grew. A red rose, next to a parked car, caught my attention. The sun was bright with open shade creating the perfect light. The soft, subtle colors repeating in ever-changing patterns was so sensual, inviting. Every day after, when talking my walk, I would bring my camera and discover how the same unfolding of natural beauty would present in different flowers, in the trees, the clouds, flowing water, the human body and all of nature.

When opening ZFolio, what to display on the walls became a challenge. I was working on a large museum exhibit that involved large graphic panels. The printer suggested canvas. “How large can we go?” I asked. “As large as you want,” was his reply. For a test I selected five of my floral images. In traditional photography printing an 16x20 exhibition quality print was common. With the new digital print technologies, I printed these test images 40x60, and was amazed at the quality. The canvas surface was perfect for the delicate floral patterns, and going large created a dramatic presentation that is irresistible. What began as a walking meditation became something unique I could share with others. Who would have guessed.

With the opening of ZFolio Monterey, I spent a year by the sea enjoying the same meditation exploring the moving dance of water and shoreline. The classic Zen Garden, with its twisting manicured gravel moving around nature, represents this eternal dance. A specific time of day, shutter speed and f/stop, I discovered, creates a brush-stroke effect that highlighted this interplay of water and stone. For much of that year I explored this Zen Garden theme, with whisper of sacred geometry calling the shots.

It is said that 10,000 hours is the time it takes to become a master. While I shy from any such labels, I invested much more than that during the past fifty-years in this walking meditation of innocence, sacred geometry and photography. You can feel it when you walk in the room.

Michael Mendizza