New arrival: Visual Soma

the melt line

Color was returning to reclaim the world from black-and-white. It started on Sapsucker Ridge and spread down across the field. Soon it was right in front of my doorstep, where it paused for a while. I took that as a signal to go out, camera dangling from the strap around my neck like a shrunken head. It can see things I can’t. It can steal souls. I point and click, and sometimes, when I am looking for nothing in particular — “just looking,” as I always say to solicitous sales clerks — the miraculous appears. Or at least the pretty darn interesting. Or the mildly engaging. Or… well, you get the picture.

Why “Visual Soma”? Because when a regular reader of Via Negativa visited the then still tentative photoblog for the first time the other day, she thought I must be smoking something. And because a name like that will give me something to try and live up to: photos that alter consciousness. Can it be done? I don’t know, but I’m going to try.

This is not a resolution, mind you, but an aspiration, keeping in mind the multiple meanings of that word. The breath itself is enough of a wonder. Who needs smoke?

Again, for those unfamiliar with the photoblog format: the front page displays the latest photo only. Click on it — or use the Previous or Archive links at the top — to go back in time. I’m paid up for a year, so the blog and all its archives will stay online at least that long. In addition to new photos, I have two years’ worth of photos that need a second look and in most cases re-processing.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave’s writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the “share alike” provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).


  1. Fantastic photos, as always, Dave. I’ve learned a new meaning for soma, a word I only knew as a biology term … interesting!


  2. I first assumed you meant the biological term, too. But it could work either way, I suppose. Have fun! Looking forward to viewing…


  3. Very nice! And yeah, those are kinda trippy….


  4. Thanks, y’all. I should’ve said that I was also influenced by “somatic,” inasmuch as the sorts of photos I’ve been featuring and would like to continue to feature there take a sort of tactile, texture-rich approach to imagery. Quoth the Wikipedia:

    In the philosophy of education, certain ideas that have to do with the body and the mind have been called somatics. According to the originator of this usage of the term, “somatic awareness allows a person to glean wisdom from within”. The usage of somatic as put forth by Thomas Hanna implies a truly integrated mind/body/spirit nature of humans. Thus far, the popular usage of this term has not fully realized this meaning, and a mind-body dualism still often occurs in disciplines describing themselves as somatic.


  5. tactile, texture-rich approach to imagery

    Ack! And I call myself a poet…


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