Deeksha is another image in the Transformation series that outlines the path to enlightenment. By using cloaked figures in the landscape of the Royal National Park I intended to create the feeling of each stage in this unfolding journey. For the awakening image I was looking for a dramatic scene with lots of movement and detail because for many these sparks of initiation are very dynamic.
Exploring the park was a beautiful process that mirrored my own awakening experience at that time. In the search I earmarked a few places that I thought might work for the various stages of the process. Careful planning and timing were necessary so that when the weather conditions were right I could head off with a volunteer to do the photography.
For "Deeksha" (initiation), I had thought of a clifftop view looking out over the sea, but when I set up the figure in the chosen location, it wasn't really working. Shooting sheet film with a large format camera meant I could also do some preliminary polaroids to assess the feeling. As I turned around to pick up the polaroid holder I looked up to see these great cirrus clouds moving across the sky and some interesting layering and detail in the rocks.
I quickly moved the figure into the top of the composition and had him hold the metal cross I made to reflect the rising sun. It was all over in a moment and I knew I had the image I was looking for. It remains one of my favourite photographs of the series for the combination of planning and spontaneity that were part of its creation.
It is full of symbolic meaning. The dynamic cirrus clouds represent the energy of change whilst the layers of shadowy sedimentary rock and boulders are the old unconscious conditioning that has started to break up.The figure is cloaked in a dark robe but is holding the bright cross of spiritual awakening.
All images in this series were shot on a Sinar 5x4 camera with Kodak sheet film. I recently rescanned the negatives to make new digital files.
We print on heavy grade archival 100% cotton rag fine art paper and prints are sent unframed in a cardboard tube.