The blossom of the water lily floats on the water’s surface, opening and closing with the passage of the sun. After several days the stem of the lily will twist into a corkscrew and pull the flower down to the depths of the pond where its seeds will ripen, and germinate.

In recent summers, while swimming in a small kettle pond on Cape Cod, I found myself also drawn beneath the surface to this underwater landscape. At first, thoughts of unknown things lurking in the tangles caused me to avoid the weedy edges of the pond. But over time I began to see the beauty of the sinuous growth unfurling itself in the shallows. I found rich colored petals clinging tenuously to delicate tendrils, and clusters of leaves and buds turning slowly in the currents just below the surface. On rare days I encountered lily flowers submerged in opulent bloom.

In time, I took my camera into the pond with me, and with it I began to see more. The light itself became almost tangible, with its beams penetrating the water like slanting pillars. In my subjects I sensed a quiet striving for fulfillment as they innately reached from the shadows toward that light. And there was a sublime transcendence in the fleeting glimmer of reality reflected back from the water’s undersurface.

Water lilies have long been the subject of artists, given their placid serenity punctuated by white and yellow flowers. Yet there is something essential overlooked from our two-dimensional perspective at the surface. With this body of work I have penetrated that surface and looked back from a place where there is depth, and drama, and an intimacy unperceivable from above.

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