June 8, 2003

Technology provides link to humanity

Filed under: Art and About Art — admin @ 3:23 pm

I can’t help myself. I’ve tried to suppress this column for months, but it needs to bubble forth. There is so little positive energy being generated by the media these days, that I am compelled to use this space to share how one person in my life uses a blend of creativity and technology to send joyful, peaceful and positive vibes to me on a regular basis.

The subject of this column did not want me to write about him, so I am not going to. Instead, I’m going to write about what he does. I’ll call him Dan for our purposes.
Dan is an artist and an email acquaintance of mine for about a year now. He contacted me after reading some of my stories in the Sun. Dan does stunning nature photography and after he and I corresponded through a few text exchanges, he put me on one of his mass emailing lists to send me information about his photographic pursuits. I admit, when I first realized I was included on his mailing list, I groaned. I’m one of those people who despises being impersonally copied on emailed jokes, pleas from “good causes,” stuff about “women’s issues,” or whatever else I didn’t ask to be sent.

But being on Dan’s list actually is a gift. Most Mondays, and often once or twice throughout the rest of the week, I check my morning email and there is a message of hope and inspiration from Dan cued up first among the unread messages. His emails usually contain a scene from nature he photographed within the last 48 hours, accompanied by a spiritual and uplifting quote. The quotes are taken from cultures around the world, while the photos are often the topography and flora we see in our Contra Costa backyards every day. I have seen pictures of Mt. Diablo this year through Dan’s lens that are unlike any other interpretations. Dan usually includes only a brief message describing where and when he took the photo, and wishing us all blessings and peace. Getting one of these messages is quite an invigorating way to start the day.

Using the wonders of modern technology, Dan has found a very personal way to touch my life with his art. I don’t know very much about Dan other than the fragments of his soul which he has revealed through his photography. I do know that he is the only person in my life with whom I have regular spirit-to-spirit communication exclusively via artwork.

It seems to me that Dan has hit upon a way to share humanity — and art is uniquely human— through computer technology which often gets knocked for being cold, impersonal and isolating. In the global aftermath of war and the realities of economic depression, we need more human-to-human contact to keep the world from falling apart, even if it’s just our little corner of the world. Many of us sit down at a computer every day. A lot of us snap pictures all the time of the people, places and objects we find inspiring. Try testing how fast your Internet connection can transport your heart into cyberspace.

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