Instructed to respect library silence, in seventh grade, I learned to giggle in this building. At age 18 I left Lincoln, and after college I picked up a camera, then I spent 40 eventful years in Manhattan as a professional photographer. With this playful exhibition I return to the place where I first learned to how to play.
It began as a whim. Struck by the memories and the beauty I rediscovered in this library, I wondered what would happen if I presented a series of images that were all found within the building that housed the gallery where the prints were to be shown. I’d call the show HERE to illustrate the basic principle that beauty is always ready to be discovered for those who can see under their feet and beyond their nose. The secret, an open secret, one that we all know, is to consistently step into the ever-changing present with open eyes and a ready heart.
Over the years I’ve learned that seemingly simple ideas can invoke an arduous path to completion, so it was a surprise to me that this project seemed effortless: all the hours of creation, photographing, pairing, printing, framing, hanging, even writing this paragraph, went by naturally, like breathing in and breathing out. That’s unusual, but is probably so because I had spent all those many years developing the skills of my profession; now I could return home and what might have been perceived as hard work became, for me, carefree play.
Please enjoy the pictures. Those of you who are physically inside the library, see if you can find the spots where these images were found, then see if you can find a few more that I’ve missed, I do that myself every time I return, it’s a quest without end.
Peter Cunningham has been a professional photographer for over 30 years. His teachers include Baptist fisherman Lester Tate, modern dancer Martha Myers, French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson, Zen Master Bernie Glassman and American performing artist Bruce Springsteen. Peter has exhibited his photos in New York, Krakow, London, Paris, Tokyo, Beijing, Berlin and Grand Manan, Canada; his clients include singers, teachers, chefs, playwrights, athletes, accountants, actors, fishermen and clowns. Peter teaches“Photography as Zen Practice” in the US and China and is co-author with Peter Matthiessen of “Are You There Yet? A Zen Journey through Space and TIme.” He is also a founding member of “ThE OrdEr of DIsOrdEr”.
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