Monday, 5 May 2008

Forever looking at a moment

"Photography does not create eternity, as art does; it embalms time, rescuing it simply from its proper corruption." Andre Bazin, French Critic

What is the appeal of stories with characters that escape? Thelma & Louise, Bonnie & Clyde... Why do we envy them so? Even though our lives are evolving/satisfactory the dreary routine of every day seem to evoke the power to kill any ‘good life’ into a mundane one.
I had a chance to run away this weekend. We set up camp in between the plantations of a little forestry town, Sabie. Part of the whole appeal of the getaway was the complete different sense I experienced there. Even though I knew it was only slightly removed from my backyard, it felt as though I was hidden from my hometown life’s demands.
Every corner greeted me with the allure of autumn and I couldn’t but help to want to capture some of that essence and take it back with me.
Sam Abell, an American Photographer, so eloquently described this desire: “Photography, alone of the arts, seems perfected to serve the desire humans have for a moment - this very moment - to stay.”

Maybe the whole desire to “capture” a moment is because of its impossibility. We are conditioned by romanticised silver screen dialogues of characters satisfied by just a mere moment, that makes their whole existence worthwhile.
It could be that we just want to preserve some moments, because at that moment we were just so happy or ecstatic or sad and we realise its significance. We all might be afraid to forget the intangible things we own, and losing it without knowing what we had.
Why do we want to hold on to some moments? Why are we so afraid to let some moments pass? Maybe it’s because we know how fragile they are, how significant or fleeting. And the fear of the spaces in between these signature moments might entomb us, enslave us to the mundane - make us forget.
A photograph has the power (when it is an excellent photo) to call up that feeling at that exact time we had when the shutter opened. It’s like a spell, that will evoke the exact emotion when we look at it again. When looking, one can re-create that emotion, and for a fleeting moment escape back into that frozen wink.