All of the photos I consider successful embody this quality, but recently I have been playing with something that takes the poet’s eye exercise in a new direction. I have been using the free photo editing app, Prisma, and am experimenting with light and color. (I would not necessarily share the name, except that the app is free, and thus available to all.) Prisma provides unusual photo filters that are ostensibly about applying “styles of famous artists.” The developers claim they use “a unique combination of neural networks and artificial intelligence.” I have no idea what that really means in this case, but what happens is that each filter uses some kind of rubric to re-digitize the photo, applying the colors and line quality of selected paintings. While a few of the images might indeed evoke known artists, I find these are rare. Rather, what is exciting is that surprising effects come with these new combinations. What happens to many of the photos is that they seem to fill with light—it is as if they are lit up from within. (To throw in a little color theory: I think this has to do with the fact that the color mixing is in fact happening with light rather than pigment; it is an additive, rather than subtractive color system.) Photos transformed in Prisma can of course be further changed with other editing tools. This means that there are whole new possibilities and new ways to play that can help me move into the poetic/poem space. Having become familiar with what can happen with this program, I have even begun to expressly take photographs with Prisma transformations in mind.
Here is a gallery of images that hold the interior light I value so much. Included are photos of things I see in the world around me, and photos of my own work, transformed again and again.