A photograph captures a second in time and how we see things is our perception of what the photograph represents.
I listened to an author describe his new book and how he uses a photograph to transport the character to another place. My question was when and where was the photo taken.
As soon as a photo is taken, things change. Time has changed and so does nature. We change in so many ways. We age in that millisecond and our body evolves. Our skin sheds and replaces itself. Our nails and hair grow. Thoughts are renewed and we function differently doing things like walking, sitting, standing or whatever. If you want a clear concept of this, try walking around in a circle in newly fallen snow. When you come back to the beginning, you have trouble following your own footprints imbedded into the snow. You have already changed.
In the beginning of September, 2001, two buildings stood proudly silhouetted against the New York City skyline and then they were destroyed. I remember the original Law & Order show scanning the sky and the buildings were highlighted and then in later episodes they had to reshoot the New York City view to accommodate the buildings not being there.
Think of nature also. The weather and seasons change. Trees grow and leaves either sprout or turn colour and fall. Flowers bloom and fade. We heat up or cool down. Our clothes and footwear change to accommodate the seasons and time of day. Nothing stagnates in nature – it continually changes.
Even our perception is constantly changing. What we see as a child transmutes as an adult. Our heritage and original home life alters what we see and feel originally. Our experiences throughout life change our perceptions. Our relationships or lack or functionality of them alter how we feel and communicate. Our parents, siblings, relatives, spouses, teachers, bosses, community all change how we feel and evolve. As we go through life our perceptions are constantly evolving and what we see as a child is different than us at 10 years, 20 years and through the decades of time. We never stay the same no matter how we feel we don’t change. Change is all around us and is constantly happening.
It would be very boring to think we could or would not change even if we didn’t want to. Photographs prove this and we can appreciate, dislike, cherish or regret the changes it shows us. We remember the time, place and circumstances either nostalgically or with stronger emotions. Times of old or innocence are remembered and brought back to us. Times of changes were captured in the world like the fall of the Berlin Wall, 9/11, marching soldiers and disasters that changed the face of the world or just us. They also captured the finer moments like Martin Luther King’s speaking his world famous speech or triumphs in sports or the Olympics. There will always be these seconds in time.
What would we be like without photographs and the seconds in time they captured?