Snapshots are a passion for me. While none of us want to be cornered by the well-meaning friend who is armed with vacation pictures, I love looking at snapshots just the same. My favorite snapshot thing-to-do is to closely examine the people who stumble into the background of such photos. Who are they? Where are they going? Are these really just chance encounters? Or, are they messengers for a far off space and time?
Old snapshots are particularly fun for this exercise. Actually, you don't need a camera or a snapshot. When going for a walk, pay attention to who that pass you by. Most of these people you'll never see again, so savor the moment. I believe that there really are no chance encounters, so maybe there is a silent message from each sentient being we are blessed to meet, even if it is contained in just a second.
The camera can teach us so much about life and the nature of all things. Mostly, we pay attention to the camera's aesthetic nature; light, composition, beauty, drama. But, there is so much more. The very notion of freezing time is incredibly strange. It is an abstract concept that we take for granted. The barrage of images has desensitized us to the wonderment of photography. The next time you see a snapshot, let your imagination run wild and really, really look at. Looking is different than seeing.