"Birch Path" by Hunter Madsen

"Birch Path"

TITLE - "Birch Path"
WHERE - Bowen Island, British Columbia (2014)

"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." 
- Friedrich Nietzsche
Hollywood has made a finely entertaining business out of the sanitized, Harry Pottered, Halloweened, science-fictionalized, monster-mashed celebration of darkness in this world.  So much so, that our children could come away supposing that evil today is tameable, more a concept or misunderstanding than anything else, a bad idea that good triumphs over, as immaterial as a fairy tale. Sleep well.
Evil is not that way.  Its presence in life, often stealthy, is real, and never to be celebrated.  Evil is malevolence - the impulse to destroy, to crush the spirit of life out of other creatures, and to enjoy doing so. Evil is to serve your own vain wishes at all costs, to exalt death over love, to sew despair, to make life seem meaningless or hopeless. Evil trails fear, it's true, but even more, evil begets suffering, always, and to observe suffering is to stand in evil's merciless shadow.
In our times, steeped in selfishness, lies, and cruelty, evil makes its daily appearance under a thousand masks, some quite subtle. The subtle ones always scare the wits out of me. I try to capture evil's under-the-skin uncanniness as though it's just off-stage, like glimpsing Medusa through a mirror. Because beauty is a balm that aids looking, I use it to repel, appall, and appeal all at once.  As evil does. Such images are a chill breeze from nowhere, reminders that, outside Hollywood, evil is baffling but material, and that beauty, evil's sometime companion, must never be thought redeeming, nor mistaken for an antidote to darkness.