Author Archives: Jim

On Cinema Photo Graphie




Images, juxtaposed with other images, transform each other, bleeding into one another the way colors bleed into other colors. Blue is not the same blue when next to green, yellow, or midnight black. Without such transformations, there is no art, no web of visually echoing intricacies.





Creativity establishes novel affinities between people and things..




First light hits El Capitan. Yosemite National Park, 2014.

First light hits El Capitan. Yosemite National Park, 2014.

Employ simplicity: everything that communicates through  immobility, silence, chaste being. The intimate union of images with the body of tranquil emotion.  

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What no eye can capture, no quill, no brush can express, your camera captures unknowingly.
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Resist pursuing poetry. She of her own accord emerges from the gaps between and rhymes within images.
feelings cause motions.
  Rely solely on what she communicates silently.
Impose nothing onto the immediacy of those impressions and feelings.
Unbalance to rebalance.
Ideas, obscure them, so that they can be discovered.
The more important the more veiled.
Absolute silence and silence obtained by the pianissimo of myriad muted sounds.
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Find invisible wind in the water that carves its path.
Trembling images that spark.
Unveil being on the white: within silence and immobility.
Shooting: Knowing nothing, find yourself within a state of intense ignorance–and curiosity . . .

To Knot or Not to Knot: Consciousness and Space/Time Curvature in Christopher Nolan’s Interstellar


On knots and naught; by way of a Sufi wormhole.

On night one thousand and two, Mullah Nasruddin was walking a dark and desolate byway when, in feeble light, he could make out shadowy figures approaching in the far distance. As the shadows loomed closer, he knew they were horsemen. A cold chill shot up his spine and he began to run. The horsemen, seeing the shadowy figure, spurred their mounts, following him. Now the mullah was petrified. He saw a wall, jumped over it, and found himself in a cemetery. In the far corner, and just in time, he discovered an open casket and climbed in, closing the lid behind him. The horsemen, however, had seen him jump the wall, and rode into the graveyard. After searching for a while, they found the unburied casket and opened the lid with the mullah lying inside like a frightened vampire.

“Is there anything wrong?”

“Well, it’s a long story, replied the mullah.”

“Can we help you? Why are you here?”

“I am here because of you.”

“And we are here because of you.”

Douglas Hofstadter has dubbed such a situation in which a cause cannot be located as a tangled hierarchy, in other words, a hierarchy with neither an upper level nor an inferior level.

Another example of a tangled hierarchy is the sentence I am a liar. If we chase the truth value in the sentence, we are caught up in an infinite loop. If the sentence is telling the truth, it is lying; if it is lying, it is telling the truth, and so–ad infinitum.

Tangled hierarchies form Godelian knots, and the harder you pull on the knot, the tighter it tenses.

Artistic attempts to represent the tangled hierarches of Godelian knots are found in the works of Escher and Cubists.


The Mobius strip is a mathematical topology that represents the infinite loop within the tangled hierarchy, with films such as La Jetee/Twelve Monkeys based on  Mobius-like narrative curvatures.


Escher’s Print Gallery expands the Mobius strip to the architectural level. Please take note of the white circle in the middle of the drawing, which erases the problematic discontinuity between inside/outside the gallery. This can be called the inviolable point, the point that transcends the infinite regress within the knotted, tangled hierarchy.

Deep within the gargantuan black hole in Interstellar resides a sort of neo-Cubist singularity, a tangled hierarchy, a knot wherein gravity becomes gravitas and is so compressed that past and present, far and near, matter and the emotion of love not only co-exist, but interact. Is it the past influencing the future or the future influencing the past? Like the mullah and the dark riders in the graveyard, they are there for each other. The play of causalities forms an infinite loop, and knot. Can we pinpoint who causes books to drop off Murph’s bookshelf and dust to fly, or are these caught up in a tangled hierarchy between past and future? Forget that in physics a singularity would destroy human life. This singularity serves the narrative purpose of allowing Coop to send Murph (through her watch) the data she needs to solve Professor Brand’s gravity equation, which allows those NASA dudes to levitate those enormous space stations into the akasha. The wormhole helps daughter Brand reunite with her hot astronaut on planet Edmunds.

Yet, there is another dimension to this and to any knot: pull on the both ends of the rope, but you cannot pull the knot apart. Slacken the rope and you can slide the knot up and down the length of it. The knot is neither the nylon nor the silk nor the cotton. The knot is naught: simply a pattern the rope makes visible.

The inviolable naught transcendental to the infinitely recursive knots of tangled hierarchies is consciousness itself, which has written its own volume of Mobius-shaped narratives within certain collections of hoary Hindu tales.

Love and Gravitas


Just survived INTERSTELLER, the new Christopher Nolan survival epic. It makes the point that many meditators and lovers experience: that love/consciousness seems intimately intertwined with physical forces (in the film, with gravity). Actually the foundation of sankhya/yoga philosophy/experience is that love/consciousness is ontologically prior to space/time and transcends space/time — giving rise to all of the physical universe. Whether or not this is true can be verified only by those who transcend regularly. They will find that at least it is true subjectively. The love intoxicated know that the Beloved is not separate. Lovers simply drown in the infinity of that Beloved. What CANNOT be found in that state is time or space or ego or mind or the objects of the senses. These simply cease to appear within that state of ultimate, radical self-abandonment and intimacy but can be seen emerging as waves within that ocean of consciousness. Noland and crew paint that state as beyond time, but as a kind of cosmic neo-Cubist nightmare rife with a sense of separation. Cubism has long been employed in the service of those attempting to represent co-existent realities (conscious/unconscious). A more sattvic approach might have invoked a more Rivendell-esque aesthetic, but that would have broken character: the character of a universe in which we view physicists and epicists, rather than mystics and haiku masters, as the custodians of ultimate truth. Ultimately, the film fails to remind us that if we must leave this planet, it is only because we have not learned how to simply be here simply, though ample models for doing so beckon before our eyes. If we do not learn how to be here first, and simply jump ship and scurry somewhere else, as if we could actually zip through wormholes without spaghettifying ourselves, we can never really be anywhere else, either.

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prana sans frontiers

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Recently in San Diego, before taking in the performance of a troupe of blind Indian dancers, I dined at a Vietnamese restaurant. There slurping noodles sat a table of men pretending not to be watching a cheesy Chinese kung fu film.
Like most exemplars of this genre, it had one oft-repeated, but unspoken message: c’hi (qi; ‘life force’) exists! Later, as I watched the Indian dancers I wondered how a script impelled by the Indian notion of prana (the Indian equivalent of ch’i) would read.
The Hundred-Foot Journey is a foodie romance with just that in mind. “Cuisine is not a tired old marriage, it is a passionate affair of the heart,” emerged the film’s most potent dictum, from the lips of a master chef holding up a piece of limp asparagus. “Limp,” can be rendered as “chi-depleted” or “prana-depleted.” Thus, underlying all the Indo-Franco intercultural, cuisine-sans-frontiers, and romantic interplay vibrates the film’s unspoken message: prana exists!
On the narrative level, a displaced family of Indian restaurateurs decides to sink down new roots in a French village rather than London or Paris, because of the vibrancy of the rural produce (and later on the romance), where they are reminded of an ageless Indian truth: that without prana, there is no life. All the gods we worship and chase after are nothing without it.
from the Pransa Upanishad.
Vaidarbhi asked Pippalada: Sir, how many gods support the body of the created being? How many of these manifest their power through it? And which one, furthermore, is paramount?

To the disciple he said: Space, akasa, verily is that god—the wind, fire, water, earth, speech, mind, eye and ear, as well. These, having manifested their glory, said boastfully: “We support this body and uphold it.”

To them prana, the chiefmost said: “Do not fall into delusion. I alone, dividing myself into five parts, support this body and uphold it.” But they were incredulous.

Prana, out of pride, rose upward, as it were, from the body. Now, when it rose upward all the others rose upward also and when it settled down they all settled down with it. As bees go out when their queen goes out and return when she returns, even so did speech, mind, eye and ear. They, being satisfied, praised prana.