What is a photography of belonging? The various meanings of Gelang, an Old English and current Dutch word, inform the approach:
- To go along with -- approaching in a like manner, going together with and assenting to. It means being in sync, remaining adaptable, flexible, sympathetic, and companionable. It implies a partnership and a need for cooperation. It values affinity and affiliation.
- To be dependent upon -- recognizing one’s vulnerability and limitations, approaching with a sense humility, recognizing the influence of others, both human and other-than-human, and feeling grateful for their influence and aid.
- To be present -- being fully alive to a place, aware, available, accessible, open, embodied, and pliable. It means remaining for the duration and maintaining a sustained attention.
- To be attainable from -- being realized through, reaped through, acquired through, and endowed by. Gelang is thus a practice that fully acknowledges the fact that landscape/nature provides the grounds for knowledge and self-development.
- To belong to -- submitting to spirit of life that animates and sustains us, no matter how we wish to define that spirit.
Altogether, belonging is relational, adaptable, and accordant.