Art + Science: Nature and Nurture: Julie Fischer McCarter
It has been medically proven that when immersed within nature, one’s anger, fear and stress tends to melt away. Nature heals. Even placing a plant indoors can bring one closer to nature. For me, being in the mountains, desert and near the ocean, I can find my personal place of sanctuary. Yet, Mother Nature doesn’t just give and give. She, too, requires nurture. This week in Art + Science, I am featuring work that explores the symbiotic relationship that we have with our natural environment, from connections and personal healing to the challenges we face regarding the health of our planet. –Linda Alterwitz
Julie Fischer McCarter is a photographer, educator and psychotherapist based in Maryland. Her work explores the mindfulness and meditative qualities of the inner mind by creating visual conversations through the lens of her camera. In her series There’s a Thread you Follow, she collaborated with the natural environment, creating a resource for herself as she worked through emotionally challenging times following her loss of both parents. These photographs represent a transformative process of understanding in which she allowed her experiences in nature to dictate her creative direction.
Her work is contemplative, conceptual & experiential-offering a broad range of interpretation from simplicity to complexity. I asked Julie what she would like viewers to experience from her work. She replied, “I invite viewers to experience the work as witnesses to of a conversation with nature, taking the ordinary to another dimension and I’m interested to see what the visual imprints might reveal to them personally as well.”
There’s a Thread you Follow
This series of photographs began at a time when I was grasping for answers to heart-centered questions about mortality, eternal connection and spirit. My parents were experiencing declining health, and I sensed that the road ahead would require new levels of wisdom, strength and understanding. Within the first year of this project, my parents both passed away.
The first image was created by photographing a scrap of sheer fabric from my mother’s linen closet at the edge of a lake; it was all very ordinary. Within a few minutes of cultivating presence with open curiosity, nature’s elements transformed the ordinary into something else entirely. As the wind re-shaped the fabric and the sky lent its blue color, I felt like I had entered into a conversation with the wisdom of Mother Nature herself.
The images that came forth hold visual imprints of knowing, received gratefully by this one beating (and grieving) heart.
In each image you may recognize wisps of paper from my father’s Bible or hints of silver from family heirlooms – but what I hope is that you have your own felt-sense of the mystery and wisdom held within.
The title of this series is inspired by the first line of William Stafford’s poem, “The Way it Is”.
Julie Fischer McCarter is a New Orleans-born fine art photographer whose work is greatly informed by nature and the spiritual world found within it.
She studied photography at the Academy of Art in San Francisco and worked for over 10 years a corporate and portrait photographer, before turning toward personal projects and fine art.
Julie also has a background as a psychotherapist with a Master’s in Social Welfare from University of California at Berkeley. In addition to developing her own portfolio, Julie leads workshops that blend wellness, mindfulness and expressive photography. She is particularly interested in sharing her workshops with populations that are in need of physical or emotional healing.
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