The seduction of photography is complex. I often wonder why we desire to record things on film or digital sensor. So often I get the thought that says “I must capture this and take it with me!” In looking at today’s featured photo, that thought came to me, as it did when I made this photo in Venice a few years ago.
The winding path of our life takes us on a treasure hunt that unfolds right before our senses. At certain places, at certain times we get the urge to prove we were there. One sees it all the time at famous sites. Everyone wants a photo of themselves in front…(fill in the blank). It signifies something. Like graffiti that marks a wall, it says, “I am here!” Or, more basically, “I AM!” This famous thing (or person) and I co-exist. In the case of graffiti, it is more aggressive. Not only does the encounter exist, the person making the encounter changes the object he encounters.
While graffiti obviously alters the object encountered, Quantum Physics says that all encounters result in change. We know, as photographers, that once we bring out our camera and point the lens at something, it changes the something at which we are pointing. People stiffen, animals frighten, our perception of the world alters. The camera does not record reality, it records a certain version of reality. We often see a camped-up world in snapshots that has little to do with world that existed before the camera entered the scene. The camera records something—what that something is, is debatable.
So, on we go. We find these things along our journey that, like a prowling cat, make us stop and sniff. Sometimes they simply make us curious. But, there are times when it provokes more. We want the feeling to linger, to be captured, and to last longer. We desire that it be known the we were here, that we ARE here—that we matter. And it is always fortunate when we have our camera with us at the time.