21st Annual Smithsonian Magazine Photo Contest Natural World

This image is part of my series TO PARADISE. This series is about our longing for paradise. These edenic images are symbols for that transcendent state of mind, that feeling of being whole and connected that we are striving for on our path of life, directed by our desires and aspirations. My paradise is a dark forest, a place that instead of causing us fear, feels safe and intimate, prioritizing a sense of participation over observation. Its Haiku-like visual poetry is aiming to provide many more possibilities for viewers to read and interpret the images. What most touches their souls. Paradise connotes “a walled garden of delight“. Joseph Campbell describes the garden of Eden as “a landscape of the soul within us“ –a place of non-duality and unity. With this work I seek to invite to this transcendent blissful mystical state.

Photo Detail
Date Taken: 09.2022
Date Uploaded: 11.2023
Photo Location: Koh Phangan, Thailand
Camera: iPhone SE (2nd generation)
Copyright: © Melanie Schoeniger