Point of Clarification

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"This is my dream, and I will decide where it is going from here."
Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland
My life follows a pattern of give'th and take'th away. It's kind of like the line at the Sandbar. It has a happiness capacity, and for every entrance one must leave. So today, when I reached for my roll of developed pictures and my camera slid off my arm, and crashing into the ground, I couldn't help but shake my head and think how poetic. Looking down and seeing three cracks spanning the diameter of my lens I felt like throwing my head back and wailing in Camera World. I walked to Tessa's office and said "Today is a horrible horrible day", although nothing bad other than the fall had happened. This camera is my favorite possession in the world. But, I rode the train home, I tucked it under my arm out of sight, and looked repeatedly over my new photos, filling with their happiness.

I let my mind wander after I walked away from my stop. All I wanted to think about was how beautiful grainy film makes the world look, not my habit of murdering innocent modern technology. Was this another example of how my life is an opiated dillusion? For the last few days I have struggled with whether or not the world I write about is just a stiff cocktail of repression and Personal PR. Looking at this case it seems pretty affirmative, and I had no defense until I began thinking about photography.

Photography has basically the opposite problem I have. In it's youth it struggled to be defined as an art because it is very literal representation of reality. A photograph is a true depiction of something that actually existed (atleast before the days of photoshop). It can be said that, though aesthetically pleasing, photography is no more than documentation. But, if this is true, how is it that one object or scene can produce so many different pictures and feelings? The answer is: perspective.

Perspective, by definition (and word root) is inherently personal. It belongs to someone, uniquely. As human beings we are the center of everything we have ever experienced, even events that we see happening to other people. It is nearly impossible to describe something with out providing our own commentary even as a third party observer. We are constantly narrating our own lives.

Even in a picture with infinite depth of field, where all the world is equally as crisp as the thing right infront of you, there is still a focal point. It's defined by the things that surround it, and those things lead to it. It doesn't have to be in the center of the frame, but in that picture it is the center of the world. Perspetive narrates film and makes it an art.

Everything, even the mind, has a narrator. And the world it describes has a foreground and a background. But unfortunately, my mind has no crop function. So I think it's better to do the editing when I capture it. To hold on to the good now and make it the focus of what I remember. The bad is in there, it's reality after all. But I am the narrator, I get to choose the subject.

2 comments:

  1. I LOVE this. There is something truly magical about a photograph, especially the ones you take. Cannot wait to see your perspective of Argentina!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Beautifully written...thank you for that. You have great perspective and a lovely way with words.

    p.s. hope your long weekend was great!

    ReplyDelete

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