Looking to escape the throngs of tourists in Canmore, Alberta, I followed the Spray Lakes Road out of town and stopped along the way at Goat Pond. It was a summer beautiful evening in the mountains, the sun was setting and the lake was a deep blue, still and tranquil. I was setting up my camera in the silence, enjoying the solitude, when out of the cosmos came the sweet yet haunting melody of a flute. The notes were soft but clear, drifting across the pond like an autumn mist, complimenting the tranquility.
From Japanese aesthetics we have the word Seijaku, meaning to have an air of energized calm, stillness and solitude. Seikjaku is about the attainment of stillness and designs that exude silence. I like that phrase and the concept of photographs that exude silence.
Tranquility is about stillness, soft light and softer lines. Its colours are pastels, tones and shades that blend, subtly one another. From the renaissance masters, we find the technique of Sfumato, which means to tone down, or to evaporate like smoke. Colours or tones are blended in such a subtle manner that they melt into one another without perceptible transitions, lines or edges. Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisa is an iconic example of sfumato and it is her captivating smile that reflects tranquility.
In stillness and in silence, tranquility offers us that rarest of treasures, utter peace.