Photographing the Wind Near Grand Marais, Minnesota
It has felt like a windy year in Grand Marais, Minnesota and along the north shore from Tofte through Lutsen past Grand Portage and elsewhere on Lake Superior. It’s constant presence this year made me wonder about capturing a photograph of wind. The only way that I know how to do that is to capture the motion of the wind as it passes through objects such as grass, water and trees. These are portraits of the wind.
To me, pictures of the wind feel like I’ve captured the spirit of everything it moves through. With the other three elements, fire, water and land, it doesn’t seem the same to me. While water moves, it’s generally because of gravity or wind. Land seems so solid, and you often can’t see it move or change. Fire moves, but only when it consumes something solid. Wind seems to influence the other elements. It creates waves, it blows dust, and it causes fire to rage. Perhaps, it’s the anchor by which the other elements exist.
In Jewish and Christian mythology, YHWH’s breath (wind) gives human beings life. As we breath in and out, we create wind. It sustains us. Perhaps, wind is our spirit. If it is, it’s not too much to believe that the wind is the earth’s spirit, and capturing it allows us to see — just for a minute — the being that sustains us.