NATURE’S ESSENCE & HEALING PRESENCE: Photography by David Foster

"Hibiscus Underworld" (c) David Foster 2012

“Hibiscus Underworld” (c) David Foster 2012

As a feature of Renee Phillips’ and Manhattan Arts International‘s annual juried online exhibition, Celebrate the Healing Power of Art, the Art That Supports the Healing Process Award goes to an artist who makes a significant contribution to the field of healing art. In selecting a winner, I was looking for beauty, communication, presence, skill, originality and a full body experience of healing. Through the use of image, color, rhythm, proportion, composition, or other means, the artwork should clearly convey a high vibration to the viewer. During the selection process, I also paid close attention to stated intentions. Award winner David Foster’s work excels in each of these areas.

There is something about the way photographer David Foster’s images capture the Essence of nature while simultaneously exuding a palpable sense of Presence that creates a healing experience. Not only are you, the viewer, witness to the beauty of nature but are made to feel part of nature. Not only do you feel the awesome presence of the creative force that made nature but you feel your own Presence merging with that greater Presence. Suddenly, you are experiencing expansion and healing.

"Flowing Light" (c) David Foster 2011

“Flowing Light” (c) David Foster 2011

Foster defines Essence as “an intangible quality that I experience in nature subjects (and try to convey) that blends together their shape/design, texture, color, vitality, simplicity or complexity, and their dynamic interplay with the light.”

Sweetwater study in blue and gold_17X22_N124633

“Sweetwater Color Burst” (c) David Foster 2012

In his personal journal, David states these intentions for his work:

*explore the beauty, wonder, mystery, and intricacy of God’s natural creation;

*be open to seeing an array of new images that reflect those qualities and express my  experience of the divine presence in nature;

*select those images that will inspire others to feel God’s presence in the natural world

*find new settings and audiences with whom to share these images

*help others to develop their own artistic pursuits: both discovering their vision and developing their technical skill.

I love that the intentions begin with a personal relationship with Creation and the Creator, find expression of that relationship in visual imagery, share those images with community and then teach other to do the same. They form a beautiful, balanced mandala for the co-creative life.

"Magnolia" (c) David Foster 2010

“Magnolia” (c) David Foster 2010

We recently had a conversation about his art practice in relation to nature, essence, presence and healing:

P.C.Turczyn: In viewing your body of work, I am struck by a palpable sense of Presence. Can you speak on your experience of Presence in nature? Does it inspire your work?

David Foster: When I am out enjoying the natural world, and particularly when I add to that experience my artistic explorations, the experience is deeply spiritual for me. Whether I am at that moment conscious of the Presence, or whether it is touching me in a deeper place, the spirit is intertwined with my being (and doing). I feel a recurrent sensation of gratitude for the wonder and beauty I find in so many forms. From that place, I make myself accessible to see and experience the essence of what surrounds me – particularly the botanicals and water in its many forms. I often say that my camera serves as a divining rod, drawing me to beauty and wonder that I might otherwise miss. I am then more fully present to what I discover, searching both consciously and intuitively for the heart of what is before me – often exploring it from a dozen different angles. I am also conscious of how variations in the light affect my experience of what I am seeing and of the Presence within it. I often wait for extended periods for the light to change how it is illuminating the subject, and thus change my experience of it and the images that emerge.

Sunbeam Radiance_n114285-2

“Sunbeam Radiance” (c) David Foster 2011

P.C.Turczyn: How did you discover the art/healing connection?

David Foster: I discovered experientially that being out in nature with my camera had positive effects on both my physical and emotional well-being. I live with chronic joint pain in multiple sites. When I set out on a photo venture in nature, I find that the pain dissipates without my being conscious of it happening. All I know is that when I start out I hurt and as time passes so does the pain. Similarly, when I am feeling under a cloud when I start out, I discover my spirits lifted as I pursue my artistic exploration. I find that as my attention comes fully into the moment, I am completely absorbed by what I am seeing and experiencing, and joy and gratitude emerge. Even if only for those interludes, healing has occurred.

I then noticed that as others engaged with the images I displayed, they too experienced some of the same emotional shifts that I had. They described a similar sense of wellbeing when they were drawn into the heart of the images.

"Giant Lilypad in the Rain" (c) David Foster 2010

“Giant Lilypad in the Rain” (c) David Foster 2010

P.C.Turczyn: In your experience, which qualities found in your work have a healing effect, particularly for viewers?

David Foster: I am drawn to images that for me convey the beauty, wonder and essence of nature as I experience it. If I succeed, I often experience a ‘wow’ moment when I see the resulting image. I find that those images are the ones that draw people in, that fully hold them ‘in the moment,’ that inspire a ‘wow’ in them, and allow them to breathe differently. I feel deeply touched when that happens. What happens beyond that in terms of healing is a wondrous mystery to me.

P.C.Turczyn: Have you done any research on healing artwork? For example, are you familiar with Evidence Based Design or healing artworks from various wisdom traditions?

David Foster: Only recently I have discovered some of the medical research that shows the beneficial effects of nature and art (and particularly nature-based art) on creating healing environments. It has been exciting to see that my experiential learning and their experimental observations/data arrive at similar findings.

Going forward, David is inspired to place his nature images in health and mental health settings where they can lend a healing influence on patients, staff and visitors. Photographic images imbued with a combination of nature’s essence and feeling of Presence captured in ‘wow’ moments can catalyze an expansive state of consciousness that can only be described as healing.


For further information and a complete gallery of David Foster’s nature photography, go to

To view the Celebrate the Healing Power of Art exhibition, click here.

"Full Moon" (c) David Foster 2007

“Full Moon” (c) David Foster 2007


3 Responses to “NATURE’S ESSENCE & HEALING PRESENCE: Photography by David Foster”
  1. This is a wonderful Featured Article! Congratulations to David Foster. Your photography is exquisite. Thank you P.C. Turczyn for participating in the Manhattan Arts International Celebrate The Healing Power of Art 2014 exhibition and for all you do to promote healing art.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] P.C. Turczyn chose David Foster to receive her “Art That Supports the Healing Process” Award in this online juried exhibition.  The award included an interview with Foster on her Art That Supports the Healing Process blog. The article is titled: NATURE’S ESSENCE & HEALING PRESENCE: Photography by David Foster. […]

  2. […] presented David with her award she conducted an interview with him which you can read on her Art That Supports The Healing Process blog. In it she states, “There is something about the way photographer David Foster’s images […]

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