A Self, on Edge

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Uploaded 11 Jan 2009 — 97 favorites
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© seanie blue
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Photo Info
UploadedJanuary 11, 2009
TakenDecember 4, 2008
MakeNikon Corporation
ModelNIKON D300
Exposure10 sec at f/11
FlashNo Flash
Focal Length34 mm
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At the edge of everything, I seem to find the fullness of self. One more step leads into a fall or a drift which will break me to pieces. This balancing act, of leaning out over an empty drop, while still aware of orbits and anchors, is a path I’ve followed all my life. Like a trapeze flier, or walker of high wires, the attention I attract is not usually due to fond familiarity but to the possibility of failure. And of failure with consequence. Extinction, scars or exhaustion. But here at the edge there is energy and treasure to grasp and collect, not just from being in places without people, but from being forced by planetary grandeur to admit that in the end I am a person without a place.

My schedule warps out here, appointments and opportunities wither or wane, but the clock ticks differently at the edges of self, and with each new encounter I feel that my measures of time are extended; not many moments of mine resemble each other, and I remember exactly what I had for lunch the day the osprey flew at me with talons flared, the smile of the waitress when I wanted to know her name before ordering. And this picture, of rocks jutting into the northernmost ocean at just the right time of light, reminds me to keep collecting small singularities of sensation and balance, because in this way I delay dying. It would certainly be nice to have a face in front of me expressing concern for my feelings or my wounds, some soothe to smooth my worries, because people care for me from a distance, in theory, and it is my job to provide relief from anxiety when I am in the presence of the people who love me; this is the price I gladly pay to be free to do as I am impulsed. Still, this image of rock and ocean, sky and sunlight, beams at me from the drop or the edge I am trying to describe. Yes, I am free to do as I want, but not to have what I want, which is a love without condition, close enough to always touch, the sort of binding force of family or a lover of long years, a sense of place in a world that will always be shatteringly temporary. I admire the rocks, the water, the plays of light, but the whole picture, the purity of moment, misses something vital, I admit: the difference between me being a who or a what.

From the limit of identity, perhaps I am glimpsing something we try to define as a soul, an idea corrupted by the infantile idiocies of religion. A soul of self revealed at the edges of being and becoming. Perhaps I can only ever see a small part of it. The possibility of being in such a lovely place at such a delicate time means you will never know the entire reality of who or what you are, and this flaw in the formula of being human is exactly the imperfection we need to keep longing for something just out of reach, that perfect moment without time or ego.


above 66 degrees north, toward Krossnes, Iceland
10 secs. at f/11, ISO 400, 34 mm on Nikon’s useful but unreliable 18-200mm lens

49 responses

  • Pongsatorn Sukhum

    Pongsatorn Sukhum gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Beautiful scene. Hard and soft.

  • Howard Simpson

    Howard Simpson gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Love it. Beautiful. Voted.

  • Vanessa Kubach

    Vanessa Kubach (Deleted) gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    wow this is really stunning!

  • Gail Anderson

    Gail Anderson gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    absolutely stunning photo and words. stirs emotions buried deep in this viewer. of course this receives a "yeah".

  • Noa Siegrist

    Noa Siegrist gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Tiene mi voto. Bella!

  • Jason Platt

    Jason Platt gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    love this and cannot wait to see what I am sure will be an amazing book!

  • lowison

    lowison gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    My vote Seanie: very inspiring!!

  • Hector Ortiz

    Hector Ortiz gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    heavenly beautiful...

  • Hector Ortiz

    Hector Ortiz gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    a vote for you...

  • Dennis Blauer

    Dennis Blauer   said (11 Jan 2009):

    curiously to me, i find my "love without condition" in the "infantile idiocies of religion".

  • Dennis Blauer

    Dennis Blauer   gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    this photo is very pleasing to my eyes and visual cortex! very Zen!

  • Alexis - Now on Flickr

    Alexis - Now on Flickr gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Seanie, you rock :)

  • Alan Franz

    Alan Franz gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    Again another trip to the transporter room of the starship Enterprise. Thanks for your inspiring works.

  • James Pervis

    James Pervis gave props (11 Jan 2009):


  • Konrad Ragnarsson

    Konrad Ragnarsson gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    IT ROCKS!!!!!!!

  • judy fouse

    judy fouse gave props (11 Jan 2009):

    I hope you someday find your perfect love.

  • Norman Caldwell

    Norman Caldwell (Deleted) gave props (12 Jan 2009):

    This is a killer photo!!! Great work!

  • Rachel Mckinnie

    Rachel Mckinnie said (12 Jan 2009):

    I am always so jealous of you Seanie. So many adventurous travels, a natural way with words and a photgraphic genius...but then every once in a while you come around, slap me in the face, and make me realize I've got everything I need. I have an amazing family, and along with that, my love without condition.
    I hope you find yours, as I'm sure you will. Thanks Sean :)

  • Chicago Love

    Chicago Love (Deleted) gave props (12 Jan 2009):

    fantastic view peacful and grand. i'm glad someone knows my heart and knows me better than I know myself and that would be God. I'm so imperfect I wouldn't stand a chance.

  • Chris Whitney

    Chris Whitney said (12 Jan 2009):

    Sean-one of your best pieces! Places like this inspire me to photograph, and I rarely include people in my images. But it is actually places like this that provide my strongest connection to people. To feel connected to others, we must first feel alive.

  • Robert Sand

    Robert Sand said (12 Jan 2009):

    On the edge, where you gracefully belong.

  • Alexis - Now on Flickr

    Alexis - Now on Flickr gave props (12 Jan 2009):

    Thank you Seanie for yet another wonderful cocktail of vision and thought. My vote of course.

  • Elyseo

    Elyseo said (13 Jan 2009):

    I share your feelings! om mani padme hum!

  • Christopher Long

    Christopher Long gave props (14 Jan 2009):

    Fantastic shot!

  • Jean Pierre Vacherot

    Jean Pierre Vacherot (Deleted) gave props (17 Jan 2009):

    Beautiful ! My vote

  • Ognjen Karabegović

    Ognjen Karabegović gave props (17 Jan 2009):


  • Elizabeth Gubbels

    Elizabeth Gubbels said (22 Jan 2009):


  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (23 Jan 2009):

    Zenfully good...Yeah! It rocks!

  • Keith de Solla

    Keith de Solla gave props (14 Feb 2009):

    amazing image!

  • j dixon

    j dixon gave props (20 Feb 2009):

    Yep- that's zen

  • Mal Stewart

    Mal Stewart gave props (21 Feb 2009):

    Beautiful image and text Seanie....your work is always interesting. Voted...definitely !

  • Michele Randell

    Michele Randell gave props (24 Feb 2009):

    All we can really do Seanie is peel off the shield of ego daily to reveal our true self...and accept this moment with gratitude. An image of acceptance - truly zen.........

  • Sebastiano Pitruzzello

    Sebastiano Pitruzzello gave props (6 Mar 2009):

    Great moody shot.

  • claudio gobbi

    claudio gobbi gave props (17 Mar 2009):

    great shot!my vote!!!

  • Rachel Mckinnie

    Rachel Mckinnie said (21 Mar 2009):

    Had to come back and reread this one...and have found myself slapped in the face yet again...

  • s pearson

    s pearson gave props (4 Apr 2009):


  • Andrew Lorimer

    Andrew Lorimer (Deleted) gave props (18 Apr 2009):

    Beautiful Capture !!! Well Done

  • Nelson Campbell

    Nelson Campbell (Deleted) gave props (19 Apr 2009):

    This is a zen fairytale full of wonder - amazing with beautiful writing to match.

  • Yasmina Baggili

    Yasmina Baggili (Deleted) gave props (19 May 2009):

    Totally amazing! Love it! and voted

  • rory cobbe

    rory cobbe gave props (22 May 2009):

    how ya i voted nice bit of work there's lovely contract between the warmths of the yellow and the blue. nice shapes and movement..

  • Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid

    Audrey Kanekoa-Madrid (Deleted) gave props (22 May 2009):


  • James Leocadi

    James Leocadi (Deleted) gave props (25 May 2009):

    mad colour...i love it!

  • Jim Robertson

    Jim Robertson gave props (23 Jun 2009):

    Scenes like this help me to loose my sense of self and become interconnected with it all. I often regret that I can't capture that with a camera but perhaps I should not try. Regardless, thanks for this moment and your thoughts.

  • Robert Sand

    Robert Sand said (16 Jul 2009):

    True Blue.

  • Jessica Hardin

    Jessica Hardin gave props (23 Jul 2009):

    This is so inspiring!

  • Karen Zimmerman

    Karen Zimmerman gave props (22 Dec 2009):

    So beautiful, in vision and thought and heart. You rip me wide open. I am really bummed that I didn't get a chance to vote for this, Seanie.

  • Eric Sayah

    Eric Sayah gave props (30 Dec 2009):

    Outstanding. Superb.

  • Joseph Rotindo

    Joseph Rotindo said (13 Feb 2010):

    it photographs like this that make me miss the opportunities that might have been, the almost-collaborations that should have been, and the kind words and thoughts you've inspired me with, other places, and here.

    i've thought for many months, almost a year, how i could express my thanks for your ideas and inspiration, and i've found that i simply cannot. so i won't.

    but i will say i wish you nothing but success in what you're accomplishing, and what will come to pass. not in the conventional wisdom sense of what society tells us is "success", but in the sense of satisfaction and joy in doing what you love to do...

    brilliant work, man.

  • eithne mythen

    eithne mythen gave props (18 Apr 2010):

    Absolutely stunning, love your essays..

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