I don’t generally like to push things upon my readers (except for my arrogant prose and my questionable bonsai stylings, I guess…) but I recently got an email from a well known, professional photographer heaping praise upon me and my blogs content (ok, it was more like him saying he enjoyed the way I showed step by step steps, but I’ll take what I can get) and telling me about his own bonsai project he’s been working on for a year.
The photographers name is Stephen Voss and if you visit his website stephenvoss.com (don’t be scared off by the portrait of former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan’s stern visage on the front page. Or the other politicians and politicos for that matter, he does live in Washington D.C., the belly of the beast, so to say, and he’s a talented, famous photog) you’ll see how gifted he is. Click around in the menu and you’ll see that he’s very able to tell stories with his pics. His is not just a camera, not just a recording device for events or things, his pictures are, to use a cliché, worth a thousand words. I particularly like this one, chronicling a closed Detroit school.
Getting back to his year long labor of love concerning bonsai. He’s been working on a book, called “In Training” that not only portrays bonsai as sculpture and art but gives views that only the bonsai artist generally sees.
These up close shots are why I do bonsai, and any art, for that matter. The twisted crook of a branch, the aged bit of bleached Jin, cracking in the sun, the emergent, swelling bud, in the early morning, springtime dew, the strong, gripping, nebari, anchoring the tree in the earth, giving the tree presence, existence in the world.
These views are, typically, never shown in bonsai books or blogs. The usual view we see is one of the full frontal shot, as Robert Stevens calls it, the centerfold shot. It doesn’t leave much to the imagination, these formal portraits.
But to get this book published (in today’s age, an art book on bonsai is a tough sell to the major publishers) Stephen has a Kickstarter page that is nearly at its goal ($14,000) but has, at this writing (the 18th of September, 2015) only 14 days left in the campaign.
I plan on supporting it. How about you? If just half of my readers gave $10, the project would be fully funded.
The Kickstarter page is Here. Watch the video, read the story. Pledge something. $5 won’t bust your budget. The project is so close to funding and is worthy of your support. Don’t let those corporate hacks in the publishing industry tell you, from on high, what you should be reading.
Bonsai is art.