The Story of Fig & Agave
two voices sounding across the Pacific.
I first encountered Narelle Carter-Quinlan, in a photography e-course, about this time last year. It did not take long to begin commenting on each other’s images and narratives, and to notice the ‘kindred spirit’ quality that was blossoming. A conversation began between Brisbane and Santa Fe, half a world apart. Heartfelt expression has been our ongoing focus.
So many photo ideas emerged those first few months of our weekly email exchange. We spoke of beginning a photo-collective. We spoke of organizing photo-walks. Mostly we talked a lot about what making photos, and writing about them, meant to us. We found that images and words, played a significant role in each of our lives.
We began speaking about a simple, collaborative project we immediately called ‘Conversation’. The concept was simple, a weekly exchange of image and words. Each was a response to the other’s previous offering. Soon we realized this project could be a small, limited edition book. We knew then, we each had other books in us. This continuing flow of ideas through our email exchange was beginning to snowball. Ultimately it would all come together.
We were having a great time, sending images back and forth, along with words and ideas. Half way around the world logistics were also making themselves apparent. We needed an office, a place to work together. So I built a bare bones website for us to work in, and surprised Narelle with an email invitation to be the co-administrator. We had our office. Adding FaceTime allowed us to work on the site together in real time. The site has gone through many iterations, as we have refined and honed our concepts, ideas, and offerings.
I was the one surprised by Narelle one day, when I received her email telling me she thought the name for the site, had visited her during one of her walks. It was Fig & Agave. It was two touchstones, the Fig for Narelle, and the Agave for me. And so it is that Fig & Agave was birthed.
In doing a bit of research, I discovered the following.
Figs, an ancient fruit, are regarded as a sacred symbol by many, an emblem even older than that of the fig tree. The fig, delicate, abundant, and edible, the seeds signify universal understanding, unity, and truth. The fig tree was the sacred tree of Buddha. The fig tree reminds us to trust our intuition in order to take advantage of abundance and opportunities coming our way. Its message is one of building upon the past.
Agave is derived from the Greek “agavos” meaning “illustrious,” an apt description for some magnificent and noble plants. The Aztec goddess, Mayheul, represented Agave's symbol of long life and health, dancing and fertility. The agave plant has long been part of human culture and was already ancient when the Spaniard Conquistadors arrived in 1492.
I welcome you to Fig & Agave. May the spirit of heartfelt expression and collaboration touch a deep place in you, as it has in us.
With love to all,
Glen . . . October, 2016 - Santa Fe, New Mexico
I am Australian.
When I walk in the land, my body is in direct and visceral encounter with place. With country.
The two are one.
When I was a small child, my burning question, was "How does the bit that's really me, get to be here, in a body?"
What I was really asking, was how does consciousness know itself, incarnate? Here. Now.
The body as felt, known, poetic space.
At four years old, my body sang to me with sensation. And my curiosity seared.
"This hip joint; this sensation. This foot movement: wow - change! WHY!?"
My body was my Cathedral of enquiry.
My holy communion.
And I was smitten.
My Dad was a surf-lifesaver. A pastry chef and a bushie.
Worried that "my world was shrinking", he'd cajole me to the beach and bush, every single weekend.
I watched as his hands listened to trees, to sandstone cliff edge; his whole being attenuated.
Skin to bark to sand and rock.
I watched as he submerged in the ocean of Sydney's beaches; disappearing into fluid wholeness.
His body and place One.
These experiences threaded together as I moved into dance, yoga, and later, into anatomy, and deeper, into histology.
My work is an embodied ecology of image, word, and movement. Of consciousness.
I am American.
I have lived a life in the Southwest, Arizona and New Mexico. Oh, and there were those five years in Eugene, Oregon, but that was a long time ago. I find it fascinating that Narelle has lived most of her life, below the Tropic of Capricorn. As I have lived most of mine, a similar distance above the Tropic of Cancer.
My love for photography began at about the same time I was reading Edward Weston’s “Daybooks.” Between the two, I learned not only how to use a camera, but what it meant to live and work, as an artist. My love for the medium has lasted over forty years.
The years between then and now, have been a creative journey, following the many twists and turns of my heart and soul. Photography has never been far away, through it all. My first love has long been . . . that feeling I have for the image, as I look through the viewfinder.
The greatest joy at this point in my journey is, walking the land, making images, telling stories. To then transform it all into handmade books and prints to share and offer, completes the circle of my creative path. I am one very happy and grateful man.