Blessings and Bounty — A Photo Exhibit

Blessings and Bounty

An art exhibit by Barbara E. Berger — 26 of her photographs with blessings

RoseSprings Center Gallery, Hillsboro, Oregon, May-June 29, 2013

Throughout the millennia, people around the world have used words to appreciate  the beauty and bounty that support their family and communities. Different groups have used chants, incantations, prayers, blessings or affirmations to bring themselves support and health; to thank the forces of the universe, and to express gratitude for their well-being.  Culture after culture have found connections between gratitude, appreciation, and enjoying life more.  Today, even the most objective scientists can demonstrate that our gratitude has positive effects on our health and lives.

Whatever we identify as the source of affirmation, intention and gratitude’s power – whether spiritual, religious, biological, or psychological – we often find that as we express the wishes deep in our hearts . . . we also mine a deeper enjoyment of life’s blessings.

When I visited my grandparents as a small child, I learned traditional Jewish prayers and blessings.  They expected me to express a ritual appreciation for what I received; drinking a glass of water, washing my hands, going to sleep  . . . my days with them became a series of events infused with reciting Hebrew blessings and prayers.  Small acts became sacred and meaningful:  an appreciation and connection with something bigger than myself.  I became more aware of the significance of the small moment, the small thing.  It changed me.

Traditional Jewish blessing of appreciation, as recited in Hebrew upon witnessing the natural beauty in the universe:              Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm (165)                                                                                                                                                                                                                           Ba-ruch A-tah Ado-shem
El-o-kanu Me-lech Ha-o-lam
She-kah-cha lo ba-o-la-mo.

Those lessons of gratitude inform my experience even today.  With my camera, I try to capture moments that show the beauty and bounty of life; I want to offer appreciation for my experiences.  I offer the images in this show as a few, small examples of inspirations in my life, along with some traditional Jewish blessings of gratitude that I learned from my grandparents.   I wonder . . . are your traditions or practices similar in any way?                                                              

About the Photographer

In 1974, Barbara E. Berger packed a knapsack and visited friends in Portland, Oregon. She found the area a refreshing change from her native New York.  She sent for her things to stay for a while, and still lives in Portland today.

As a child, armed with her mother’s black-and-white box camera from the early 1950s, Barbara loved taking photos of her family and their Bronx neighborhood; she graduated to a birthday-gift Brownie camera in the 1960s.  Her artist’s eye began developing when her uncle took the eight-year-old Barbara on outings to a wider world: to Manhattan’s art and history museums.  She continued working, herself, in pastels, watercolor, pencils and oils.  As a young woman, she followed her uncle abroad; she explored the great museums and architecture of Italy and London, and the ancient heritage of Israel.   By the year 2013, she has visited ten different countries to experience their images and history firsthand, and to connect with local people.

In 2006, preparing for a cruise to inland Alaska with the Oregon Writers Colony, Barbara bought her first digital camera.  Finally she stumbled upon her best-fit medium!  After taking Portland Community College digital photography classes with Sharon O’Keefe in 2007, she began to sell prints and cards of her photos.  She gravitates toward the candid shot, especially land, city and streetscapes.

A member of “ORA,” a Northwest Jewish Artists collective, Barbara has exhibited the last four years in its annual autumn juried show, “Celebration of Life,” in Portland.  Her photography has also appeared in local juried shows of the Geezer Gallery, Art on Broadway, and in ArtSpark.  Other venues include local fairs and exhibits held by the Portland Rose Society, Toastmasters, Neveh Shalom Congregation, Mittleman’s Jewish Community Center, Hadassah, the Oregon Liquor Control Commission, Mensa, and the Oregon Writers Colony.  She is delighted now to show at Rose Springs.
RoseSprings Healing Center
5215 NE Elam Young Pkwy, Ste A
Hillsboro OR 97124
9 AM-7PM Mon-Fri, 9AM-2PM Sat. 
Show is through June 29, 2013

About B. E. Berger

Making life better by sharing stories and pictures.
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