The story of the Landscapes and Prayers begins with my maternal grandmother, Ellen Gordon Allen, who studied the art of ikebana flower arranging while living in Japan after World War II. She is the founder of Ikebana International, an organization dedicated to the promotion and appreciation of ikebana flower arranging and Japanese culture. Ikebana is an ancient Asian art form whose origins can be traced back to the sixth century AD when it appeared in Buddhist temples throughout Asia. As a child, I was completely captivated by the Japanese scroll paintings in my grandmother’s home and by her unique flower arrangements. And so, I, too, became an arranger, as are all photographers.
Although these are digital prints in their final form, traditional materials are very much a part of the process. Film, gelatin silver paper, potassium ferricyanide, liquid emulsion, paint, and bleeding tissue paper are all part of the alchemy of this work.
Just as the natural world was a source of inspiration for my grandmother, so, too, it is for me. In the landscape, I pray to the forces of nature — for peace and harmony, for health and healing.