Engulfed in beauty

 
 
 

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Leon De Vose

Engulfed in beauty

Leon deVose -Visual artist through photography, saxophone artist, percussion artist, composer.

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There is beauty all around us. There is the beauty of nature, God's gift to mankind. There is artificial beauty, the things we have done to adapt our environment to suit our needs. In these there is the beauty of sound, light, aroma, flavor and feel.

In my photography I seek to draw out something in each object I photograph that strikes me as something I must share with you. Maybe I want to show you the most intimate parts of a flower. It may be the play of light on or through an object. One of my favorite subjects is the infinity illusion we get from just the right positioning of two mirrors so that there is an infinite iteration of the same image.

Please leave your comments here as you view my work. I love to hear how you experience my presentations of everyday life.

I am new on the scene, but not new to photography.

I am proud to say that I was born, reared and educated in the great city of Newark, NJ, where Samuel Ward penned the hymn, 'America the Beautiful', where the largest collection of Jazz recordings and memorabilia rests and where the largest insurance in the world, Prudential, has kept its world headquarters since its founding. Now, I live literally next door to my hometown in the beautiful city of East Orange.

I first began shooting when my late third cousin and godfather, photographer (and entrepreneur) Claude Jones, put a Yashica G Mat in my hands and told me to have at it. For you young-uns reading, this was a twin-lens reflex camera with a built-in meter and 80 mm lens. It was a good beginner camera, I think better than the 35 mm film cameras. Unfortunately I lost it in an accident during a shoot for my high school yearbook. I was running to catch up with the band at a parade and the strap opened, and so did the camera. My benefactor was understandably not of a disposition to replace it, so I was out of photography for more than seven years, until my bride of then three years gave me a Minolta X570 35mm camera. This took some getting used to, since I was used to the larger format of the Yashica G, but I made the transition, and was doing well, until someone decided they were entitled to make my stuff their stuff. It would be nearly ten years before I would shoot again.

In the mid-1990s I was able to get back into the game for good with the purchase of a used Minolta X700, the last of Minolta's manual focus cameras. I still have this camera, and the lenses and other gear I bought with it. I would not abandon film photography until about 2006, when I purchased my second digital camera, the Panasonic Lumix TZ 20. I have had two TZs suddenly die. After the second one died after less than a year of service, I first went to the FZ series before abandoning the brand for the Olympus OM-D M10. It is a micro-four-thirds camera which can be adapted to the now very affordable high quality prime lenses widely available. Eventually, I returned to the Lumix line when I got a phenomenal deal on a GX-8, which is now my favorite rig EVER!

As you will see, my subjects vary widely. However, florals and still-life are recurrent themes. I seek to impart my impression of a scene through colors and angles. I especially like creating images of man's execution of the Divine directive to manage and adapt Earth to his needs. This is not always good news, because some of us have abused this Divine stewardship assignment. However, when you look at a city skyline rising over a river or lake, or mountains rising above another skyline, you have to appreciate the balance between the Divinely prepared canvas of nature and man's adaptive craftsmanship - especially as civic planners seek a balance between natural preservation and smarter development.

I shoot florals mostly in macro. I am fascinated by and seek to demonstrate the fine detail we see, but do not see every day. How closely have you examined a petunia blossom or an ornamental sweet potato leaf or the bark of a white birch tree. Through my florals, you can see what you have been missing. It evokes awe and reverence and then humility as I read in Genesis that God made this all for our enjoyment.

As Divinely-inspired Old and New Testament writers say in chorus, all of nature extols and reveals the glory and majesty of the living God.

And this is my mission. I am also a musician. I compose, and I perform on sax as a lead and on Afro-Cuban percussions and electric bass. My favorite performance genre is jazz, but I spend more personal listening time with classical. My favorite composers here are Mozart, Dvorak and Beethoven. My biggest sax influence is Rahsaan Roland Kirk, while my philosophy about Jazz puts me in the Miles Davis school (as opposed to Wynton Marsalis).

God has given every man, woman and child something that the rest of us need. Whether you can paint great portraits or pour gravel and concrete, you have something that the rest of the world needs - regardless of how "ordinary" it seems. The arts, fine and performing, are marginalized as frivolity, but what culture has not been defined by its artistic expression?

Proverbs 11:26 says that you are celebrated by your neighbors when you share your bounty - even through sale, but they condemn you when you do not. Many incorrectly assume this to only mean material bounty, as in goods, gold and grub. This includes, as it is often said, time, talent and treasure. My mill is no use without her grain or your horse.

Your choice is your choice. I choose to be celebrated.