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"going out to the thing and giving oneself to it, allowing it to communicate its essence, allowing it to say what it will . . . was one of Thomas Merton's profoundest orientations . . . As a result, his concept of aesthetic beauty differed from that of most men. Most would pass by dead tree roots in search of a rose. Merton photographed the dead tree root or the texture of wood or whatever crossed his path . . . he photographed the natural, unarranged, unpossessed objects . . ." John Howard Griffin
Perhaps then (in Zen terms), he sought to show the "suchness" of what is, not what he thought or imagined it to be.