A couple stands at a street-corner intersection. I am on the other side. We both wait to cross the same crosswalk of the same street. If my calculations are correct, our paths will cross in about thirty seconds. At the point of our meeting mid-street, perhaps we'll exchange glances or maybe we'll pretend that we can't see one another. Maybe our eyes may dart to the side to catch a glance as we pass by to the other side. And then, within moments our positions will be reversed. I will be over there and they will be over here. It will be a slight shift in the cosmos, an exchange of space and energy.
I wonder about the two of them as they stand there. I ponder their relationship to one another, where they are from and where they are going. I figure that this is the only time I'll ever see them in my entire life. The chances that our paths will cross again are slim. These kinds of encounters happen many times every day but we think nothing of them. They pile up into the unused memory banks of a lifetime, as if they were piles of junk in a closet. The dailiness of life has its beat, its rhythm, it's relentless cadence of passing people and things. Mostly they go unnoticed.
The magic of photography is that we can stop it all in its tracks. By doing so we make quotidian events somewhat monumental and actually quite significant. These acts of freezing time have an accumulated effect. The next time someone passes us on the street our eyes and mind see things differently. Photography forever changes our perception of real time. We become keener observers of what is around us. Little things in life magically become big.
I photograph the couple from my other-side location. I am far enough away that they do not notice me. The light changes and we are permitted to cross. As expected we pass, and as expected we do so within the thirty-second time frame. Our eyes do not meet as we exchange sides. I find this to be a pity. For this might be the only moment within this lifetime when we'll share this space and time. And on we go until I get home and look at this photograph of this memory that is now its own, little monument to a moment of three lives.