Threshold

For every change in my life, I have stood on a threshold, momentarily paused in my forward action. Birth is the first threshold, and death is the last. In between are a thousand moments of transition where I stepped from into a new stage, times when I left an old habit behind, or moved beyond old ways of understanding, experienced new gowth, or achievement.

I wanted to do a series of photos inspired by these threshold emotions. I knew I wanted some dreamlike effects, so I chose a lens that would be variably sharp and blurry (Lensbaby Sweet 80 on Olympus OMDEM 5 mio 4/3rds).

I also wasn’t up for any self-portraiture, so as I often do, I turned to my doll collection to see who wanted to stand in for me: a very old Apache woman with a dark, dried apple face stepped forward, as did my small carving of Dzonoqua, the Wild Woman of the Woods, my muse and mythic persona.

On a day when I was very tired, after a long drive home after Spring Break, I took dolls and camera out into the back yard. I had some ideas, but both the camera effects and the dolls themselves took over the shoot. Here’s what happened.

Threshold Photo Project
Inside every child is the full grown adult on the threshold of birth. (Detail of a painting by my husband Peter Jensen on the side of our house called The Anasazi Grill.)
Threshold Photo Projecy
She stands on the threshold of the Longhouse waiting to enter the Winter Dances, the Realm of Heightened Power.
Theshold Photo Project
After a long winter hibernation, she stands on the threshold of spring. She is stunned by the light, her mind still swimming in the shadows of dreams.
Threshold Photo Project
We are as children to the gods, and we caper on the threshold of Dream/Not-Dream (Image: Detail of house painting by Peter Jensen)

 

 

Threshold Photo Project
She is Very Old Age and waits on the threshold of the future. She has no face because the Very Old are not seen. Their faces have changed so much, they often don’t see anything of themselves in that murky mirror, behind which waits Death, that patient Black Dog.

 

Threshold Photo Project
This one is my favorite because she is most like me right now. She stands, as I do, on the threshold between the last spring snow and the adventure ahead. She is old yet still strong and eager for what is to come.

What threshold do YOU pause on right now?