Karen Hochman Brown
I’m a child in my mother’s garden. Flashes of color and light dance as I hold my first kaleidoscope up to one eye, close the other, find a source of light, and the rest of the world disappears while I endlessly turn, turn, turn.
The light transforms broken bits of colored glass into perfect rays of symmetry. Identical triangles recede into the mirrors, creating vibrant patterns, effortlessly changing as I spin the tube while my heart beats in wild delight at the endless play of animations.
I slow the spin, watch for an exceptional shape and stop. The momentary pattern is fragile, can collapse in an instant, so I hold very, very still. Even then, precision is required.
Who would imagine that I was igniting a life-long passion for the swirling patterns of light and color born on a summer’s day so long ago?
Today my kaleidoscope is more complex. Computer software and hardware replace the simple tube of cardboard, glass, and mirror. I sit with a stylus and keyboard, watching the show unfold as I turn, layer, and spin the reflection from one of my photographs, brightly illuminated in my monitor.
No longer restricted to a three-way reflection or a flat mirror, I romp through polar space, fiddle with fractals, and play in the realm of infinite images.
From one of my photographs, I pull out the metaphorical “broken bits of glass” and turn these into my own kaleidoscopic imagery—spinning, nudging, and shifting these flecks of light until, like that child on the lawn, my heart beats wildly and I become lost in the endless dance of color, light, and shape.