Wednesday, July 1, 2009

celebration or elegy?

the art of photgraphy explained.

lately, i've been looking at a lot of snapshot collections. and the people seem happy, unaware of mortality, living in the moment.

the composition of the photographs reflects this quick and unaffected apprehension of reality. arms and legs are cut off, things out of focus, the horizon tilted, as if the subjects intent on escaping the frozen moment, eager to depart for further adventures.

and that seems to me the way we live. we do not want our souls stifled by 'the decisive moment.' to be captured completely means having nowhere to go! that's it, we're finished.

and that's exactly what the great photography of its best artists does. they structure the photograph so perfectly, it's the end. the horizon is flat, the triangles hold the subjects in place, the rule of thirds means this person can't step out of his clothes and go to a less auspicious place.

true, the best snapshots echo the 'rules'. they imitate the masters, but they toss a variable into the mix. the edge of the frame remains pliable and broken, not definitive.

and this is the way i've been feeling these days. for example, our bodies are so complicated, how the hell do they keep walking around? and consciousness, what is it? after our exit the memories of most us will remain unexpressed. old george standing on the doorstep, what a tale he could tell! only he's gone to his next reincarnation.

if you step back and assume nothing, since every paradigm can be proved true, you're left with a mystery. why does one life slide along on greased rails while another cut short by war or given a bumpy ride by cancer and the ultimate questions (which can't be answered)?

i love looking at snapshots. they give me hope. while the work of the masters puts me in a museum and my mobility stunted, the butterfly with a pin through its heart, a speciman caught in a net.

ah, and the same place can be experienced so differently, depending on your perspective and state of mind. i invite you to see this for yourself: