Certain images circumvent words, to remind us of hidden places deep inside ourselves... They resonate with the frequency of our dreams and our intuition, touching a place we feel just beyond the edge of consciousness.
The magic of such pictures is their ability to act as spiritual catalysts, somehow providing us with a glimpse of a barely remembered place, both inside and all around us; A higher plane; A world of ghosts and dreams and unremembered experience.
They open our eyes, not by providing a window to the beauty of world we live in, but by reminding us of an unseen world we intuitively long for, but cannot always find…
– Jean Miele, June 2000
Originally exhibited at the Soho Photo Gallery in New York City, in the year 2000, Water, Rocks, and Other Signs of Mystical Life is a series of black-and-white landscape photographs intended to remind us that anything is possible.
Some of these landscapes are composed of a single image, while others are created from multiple images woven together to create a new reality. I love "combination printing" (as Henry Peach Robinson called it in the 1850s) for the way it frees photographers from the limits of time and place, and allows us to engage in photography as an alchemical act.
For three decades now, I’ve been using my camera as what Minor White called “a metamorphosing machine.” I’ve been working simply to create something beautiful: photographic songs or poems… my own dreams manifested on paper.
Like utopian fiction or magical realism, it’s often unclear where reality ends and fiction begins. I am inspired by 19th century pioneers of photomontage: Gustave Le Gray, Henry Peach Robinson, Oscar Gustave Rejlander, even Hudson River School painters like Albert Bierstadt – who all created metaphorical worlds as they saw them in their minds’ eye.
It is my life’s work to create magical, barely remembered places that we long for all our lives – unseen worlds that exist just beyond the edge of consciousness.
Like the work?
Jean Miele's photographs are available for purchase, license and exhibition. To talk about acquiring a signed original print, using pictures as stock, or booking an exhibition, workshop, or private lessons, please contact the studio.