A ruin is not just something that happened long ago to someone else; its history is that of us all, the transience of power, of ideas, of all human endeavors. — George Schaller
The concept of impermanence can represent many things to many people. To some, the acknowledgement that nothing lasts forever may induce feelings of futility, for others a fear of change, but for Bret Culp there is beauty in impermanence.
Culp is a Toronto photographer who seeks out scenes of the ephemeral nature of the world and through his iconic black and white photographs he conveys the beauty that exists in the impermanent.
“These are photographs that highlight the beauty of each fleeting moment in a world of continuous change,” says Culp. “This cyclical and transitory nature of existence binds everything in the material world.”
Culp’s travels have taken him from the ruins of Ireland, to a 9000-year-old cave town in southern Italy, to the mist-covered hills of Tuscany during the harvest — and his poetic images often resemble scenes from a film. So it may come as no surprise that Culp is also a Director and award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor, recently acting as second unit director and Visual Effects Supervisor on The Tudors. For his work on the show he received two Best Visual Effects Gemini Awards and two more nominations over the The Tudors’ four year run.
“Birth and Death is a grave event;
How transient is life!
Every minute is to be grasped.
Time waits for nobody.”
— Inscription on a Zen Gong
“The poetry of the earth is never dead.”
— John Keats
“This shall ye think of all this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in a stream;
A flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a phantom, and a dream.”
— The Buddha
“From my rotting body, flowers shall grow
and I am in them and that is eternity”
— Thomas Moore
“In this world of change,
nothing which comes stays,
and nothing which goes is lost.”
— Anne Sophie Swetchine
“How rays of pure light suffuse you!
A golden dust wraps you round…
And don’t let it confuse you,
My voice from under the ground.”
— from Much Like Me by Marina Tsvetaeva
Culp’s photographs are also available in a revised and updated 2012 Print Edition of The Beauty of Impermanence, as well as an eBook edition for the iPad/iBooks. To order the books, or to view more of Culp’s beautiful images, please visit his website: bretculp.com