Gaia – a young and beautiful woman, flapping her long, well-groomed fingers on the computer keyboard, showing me hidden things. Tiny creatures grow and fill the screen with colors and shapes from a kind of hidden world. “I wish everyone could see all the beautiful little things around us“, she says without a smile.
Gaia sees the world through the eyepiece of a camera (Canon and Canon EOS 90D macro lens + 100mm macro f/2.8L macro IS USM + flash + DIY diffuser). She can spend continuous hours in front of the tiny world folded between the leaves, observing, planning the exact angle of the sun’s ray on the back of a spider, the reflection of the grass in the dewdrop…
With the camera in her hands she has all the time in the world. She walks among the plants focused, concentrated.
People pass by, talk, fail to divert her attention from the main thing.
Two of the traits that characterize people on the autistic spectrum are:
“Tendency to see the small parts, distinguishing details, placing a lot of emphasis on tiny details instead of the overall picture…”
“A deep and obsessive interest in a particular field of interest, which can be expressed in rich and extensive knowledge on a unique subject.”
Gaia stretches both of these definitions to the limit. From a young age she was diagnosed with the autistic spectrum, and was surrounded by a protective wall of family members and professionals. She passed the school years in a normal class and achieved good results within the supportive framework. But her inner world, and perhaps also the social isolation imposed on the different, brought her out into nature.
Alone among the grasses and gardens, in the protected environment of the kibbutz, she began to record with a mobile phone, the tiny beauty hidden from the eyes of most of us.
When she reached the age of 16 – the photography window opened wide, the family members recognized the passion and the talent, and purchased Gaia’s first camera. The camera immediately took a permanent place between Gaia and the small creatures of the world. “Today, the pictures of the past don’t seem good enough to me anymore, but little by little I got better. Look how cute…”
When I was getting ready to meet her, I planned to bring insect repellent as a gift.
It turned out to be completely unnecessary. Gaia recognizes and knows most of them.
This is where the second characteristic feature in the definition of autism comes into the picture, the one that refers to the deep interest and extensive knowledge of a chosen subject… The tiny world of arthropods has become the center of Gaia’s life, she is a member of a network community of “Crazy for Small Earth”, where there is an extensive exchange of knowledge, species identification, presentation Photographs, sharing the object of interest and love that unites all those present from around the world.
Today, the ambition that drives Gaia is studying entomology (the study of arthropods), and she is in the first stage of her academic journey. The passion for photography remained as it was, and at the end of long hours of study you can find Gaya in the same frame of mind, concentration and inner peace around the kibbutz, with the camera between her and the world.
“I want people to pay attention to the beauty that is around” she says with abysmal seriousness, and I, who can barely make out a small fluttering creature – can only agree with her wholeheartedly.
Her macro shots are beautiful.
Macro photography is a close-up photograph in which the tip of the lens is very close to the photographed object, a position that greatly reduces the depth of field and requires absolute stability, great patience and skill, in order to accurately choose the focus point. This type of photography requires extra attention to the direction of the light, especially if you choose to use only natural light. It requires working with a relatively open aperture, which further reduces the depth of field. In addition – the direction of the photo is dictated in advance, because the camera and the photographer may cast a shadow on the object.
Due to the limited frame – the background and the composition require particularly careful planning.
I return home with a storm of thoughts about the messages that register in me from this meeting.
about the power that is in diversity, if only we manage to recognize it and give it a place;
about the power of adherence to a goal, an adherence that enables such a creation;
And above all about us – how will we learn to open our eyes to the beauty and infinite variety of people and nature in the world?
(C) All rights to images reserved for Gaia Rodner Bornstein
Source: כתבות – מסע אחר by www.masa.co.il.
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