Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Forming images without a camera.


Yesterday evening I was meeting my wife off the ferry, a dark and rainy scene, not good camera weather one would say, in fact I had not brought my camera with me. As the ferry approached, its lights reflected off the sea's surface and I caught myself planning how I would take this photograph, how to get a fast enough shutter speed, without simply raising the iso sensitivity too high. I was doing a dry run with the leisure to think through the process without having to quickly raise the camera and take my shot. This is really part of everyone's process, from athletes to the military; running scenarios in the mind, so that the real thing when it arrives is already thought through. In this case I was able to not only think of the mechanical camera needs of the moment but to consider my philosophy of imagery and to think far beyond that into the realm of the imagination.

There are times when a written description actually seems more appropriate than a photograph anyway. The other day I saw ducks rising out of the fog and passing overhead against the dark grey sky . That would be difficult, but not impossible to photograph, but the important part for me at the time was my interior feeling and the ideas that the scene engendered. No photograph would be able to accurately convey what my specific reaction was. Turns out that we are all good at creating images in our minds as we hear or read stories, and those images, converted from words to interior imagery, are just as powerful in their effect as a photograph would be.

I watched the ferry slide past in the rainswept darkness, its lights reflected in complicated patterns. It was present in all it mechanical might and moving through space and time. The light was very beautiful, the thoughts it engenders took me from this place, from the rain and my physical self and led me towards abstract thought that was no longer specific to the here and now. What I was doing on this cool, dark evening was thinking holistically; logically and imaginatively, - everything combined in that one moment in time.

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