Cultivation by William Bennett

The seeds we plant today aspire the roots for the evolutions of tomorrow.  Just as “the words you speak become the house you live in.”- Hafiz. For me, the foraging fall season always seems to encourage harvest. Just as carrots grown from seeds take around four months to mature, the human spirit is always accepting change and its process. Process to progress is continuously being embraced.

Carrots grow best in full sun but tolerate some shade. The process of re-branding for me has encouraged me to embrace the uncomfortable. The gardener learns more in the mistakes then in the successes. This season I am committing myself to holding open space for vulnerability. I already have a garden full of fruitful harvest, yet I continually desire progress. For me progress is not just in mastering what’s comfortable, it’s about nurturing discomfort. What is mastering anyway? Aren’t we always looking to cultivate evolution in our present skills but also our journey?  If the carrots soil is too rich in a certain nutrient it will cause the carrots to become hairy and malformed. It is important for the soil to remain balanced. For such, a balanced foundation is wholesome. And thus, the figure of speech “jack of all trades, master of none” always comes to mind. Not that I am inferring careless “mastering skills” but beyond that I am encouraging cultivation of all. To expand ones journey one must leave safe harbor.

A ship is safe in harbor, but that is not what a ship was built for.
— William H. Shedd.

Here’s to planting new seeds, leaving harbor, cultivating my journey and reaping harvest.

Cheers,

Denman Bennett

EMBARK by William Bennett

Today.  Today, it’s time to embark on a deeper sense of my identity as a photographer.   Living in the moment and paying respect to what everyday life brings is a generous contribution.   In the past blogging has been accompanied by many unnecessary pressures.   And what seemed a generous contribution at one point quickly turned unadventurous.   As time moved forward, I became conservative.   So today, I have decided to dedicate more time to enjoyable blogging.  To turn my observations into creative outlets where I can share and express myself through my personal work.   With much aspiration I am committing this season, and seasons to come, to my blog.   I am holding respect in keeping everything intimate and imperfect - for imperfections are the reflections of the little things that matter most. 

I hope my blog will inspire you to live fuller in the moment, honor life and share life’s beautiful imperfections.   It will live here in its new home, the redesigned site of denmanbennett.com

Enjoy,

Denman

fish +‎ monger = Fishmonger by William Bennett

         One morning in Spain I woke up and decided to go to the famous fish market in Jerez.  You are probably wondering why one would choose to spend the day wondering around a fishy fish market.  Well, when you are traveling alone and on vacation you can do whatever you want!  So I hopped in the car and took the short 30-minute ride inland.  Jerez at first glance seems like a typical Andalucían city but I know it has to be a city of hidden treasures.  I parked and started walking around and immediately knew that I would love to revisit and dig deeper.  The vibe was very appealing to me.  It was the unique European blend of tasteful modern and exceptionally historical.

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  Feeling right at home I decided I should pay my respects to the City of Jerez by honoring its history of Sherry production. So I sat down and enjoyed a perfect chilled glass of Tio Pepe Sherry.

imageSherry??? No, not cooking sherry, classic Andalucía Sherry from where else but right here in Jerez.  I prefer the dry styles made from a white Palomino grape grown in the areas right outside of the city.  Along the highways, you will see towering Tio Pepe signs that constantly remind you that you are in Sherry country.  Now as an underground member of The Sherry Revolution, I have a new appreciation of this afternoon delight.

Check out the Facebook page - https://www.facebook.com/TheSherryRevolution

Now with an adequate amount of sherry in the tank I headed over to the fish market.  The sound and the smell was just what I had been looking for. 

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The atmosphere is heavy with complex bantering and selling techniques…fishwives and fishmongers are in subtle yet constant competition to sell there very finest to knowledgeable demanding regulars.  They meticulously straightening and organizing the fish on display with such attention.  The handwritten signage, bright lights, and unbelievably organized displays make for a pleasant fish shopping experience.  The bottom line is this room is full of an impressive number of seafood connoisseurs. 

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I followed as one very finicky older woman, who was clearly on a mission to buy the best possible boquerón’s (anchovies).  She made her way through bantering back and forth with several fishmongers.   Then after about 10 minutes of excessive pointing, hand waving and head shaking with six or seven different vendors she settled on these from this man…. 

I couldn’t tell you why she picked these, but she was happy about her purchase.  Every vendor has a different approach; some have a hard   edge assertiveness and some go with the sweet amicable loveable approach, all while displaying unbelievable, rather intimidating, knife sharpening and filleting techniques with speed and precision.   But every time I asked to take his or her picture I soon found out how welcoming everyone was.  These are people who are clearly proud of their history and what they do.

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This of course made me wonder, “Why don’t we have something like this where I live?”  Here in the south in Charleston, SC it seems possible; we have southern hospitality, plenty of local seafood and an abundance of history.  If we were to rewind about a hundred years ago I would imagine that the scene in our downtown market would have been quite similar.  But in here in Jerez, Spain this was happening today… More to come

Chapter 2 - Fotógrafo by William Bennett

Well, I thought that my fiery attraction to Spain would burn out after a couple weeks but it hasn’t.  I think about Spain everyday.  I miss being there.  The one thing that I think I miss the most is the people and their sense of compassion towards life.  This experience has really changed the way I think and the way I see.  Traveling and experiencing new cultures helps to satisfy ones need to “check in” and see where you are, and reexamine what you have (or have not) been doing.  It’s a life performance test that should be required by law.  Then “check out” and get out of your comfort zone.  This is especially important as a photographer.  I have been looking over the photographs that I took in Spain and I realize how much I love to travel.  It has also made me realize how much I have changed in such a short period of time.  I know this because I look at the photographs I took and I can see how different my approach was.  I took photographs that I just would not have even tried before.  I have to give myself some credit but most of it needs to go to Tim Clinch.  He understood why I was there and was able to guide me in a direction that was completely outside of what I would consider my comfort zone.  Having someone in your life that has the same passion is important.  We all need someone that you can brainstorm with and just expel all of those thoughts and ideas that get stuck in your head.  People need people that love the same thing.  Tim helped me remember that I love photography and that I love being a photographer…. Another thing I realized is it sure would be nice to wake up every morning and feed the pigs, gather eggs, and pick fresh herbs…  More to come

Chapter One - Finca Buenvino by William Bennett

This is where it all began.  Hidden in one of the least known and most beautiful parts of Andalucía, Spain.

En el corazón (heart) de la Sierra de Aracena National Park and Picos de Aroche about 95 km northwest of Sevilla. It’s hard to describe really, but try to think of Finca Buenvino not as a hotel or some posh B&B but more like receiving an invitation to your absolute, all-time, favorite family friends estate that happens to be tucked away in a remote area of Southern Spain.  If you know me at all, you already knew I was going to have an amazing time before I even left.  While you were listening to me describe where I was going and my exciting lack of itinerary, I know you all had a moment where you truly wondered if I would ever come back.  Well technically my body made it back.  But my mind is still stuck spinning somewhere between the beachy towns on the southern coast and a muy tranquilo infinity pool…  More to come…