At the Photographic Resource Center.
(Originally published in The Boston Phoenix, November 1990)
Spiral Journey is arranged as a spiral, and as you circle around and around, you pass by the same places again and again ‑‑ spirals, veils, beams of light shining into a dark place, open doors, closed eyes, hands. The same images repeat and recur in Connor’s body of work, but each time you see them, they mean something different. Each time you see them, they mean something more.
Since 1967, Linda Connor has travelled all over the world, taking pictures. But her photographs aren’t just a romantic record of exotic places; they are the unveiling of a spiritual journey.
Her earliest photographs were still lives, strange mystical combinations of pictures and objects ‑‑ a medical chart covered with leaves, the Birth of Venus overlaid with seashells, a chambered nautilus laid onto a book that shows a photograph of the same shell on the facing page.
In the 70s, Connor began to travel with an 8×10 view camera to ancient landscapes marked by ritual and myth. Her photographs ‑‑ silver gelatin prints exposed by sunlight and treated with gold chloride solution ‑‑ show petroglyphs and prehistoric stones, piles of bones in a catacomb, sacred pools in Hawaii, a tree in Japan that grows in knotty spirals, a beam of light in a holy cave, canyons in Colorado, a maze on the floor of Chartres Cathedral, and an ancient staircase that spirals up to the sky in Macchu Piccu, with great misty mountains in the distance. In India, she focuses more on the people ‑‑ a blind musician, a woman whose face is hidden behind a thick black veil, and oracle in a trance, her eyes ecstatically closed.
Connor travels with a camera, not to capture images of faraway places, but to participate in the sense of the sacred that those places embody and evoke. She brings back pictures that show you places out in the world that resonate with her inner landscape ‑‑ her dream landscape. Woman Entwining a Tree with Sacred Threads, India shows a woman, veiled in white, entwining a tree with threads that spiral round and round the trunk of an ancient tree. Entwined Buddha, taken in Thailand, shows a Buddha’s head completely overgrown into the sinuous roots and branches of a tree. Even a snowy backyard in Belmont, Massachusetts is a place of mystery and awe.
In Connor’s camera’s mystical eye, the world is filled with ancient sacred things.
by Rebecca Nemser for rebeccanemser.com