Reflections and Refractions

I have just spent a block of time floating through the field of images that reside inside of Lightroom on my laptop. The name is apropros. When I get in there, full screen with headphones and the lights dimmed its like I’m suspended in a dark and infinate space where images, my images rush or glide gently past and make me think. What makes my vision unique? What do I see that others don’t see? What is my talent? Because this lens, this sensor and every other piece of technology I own is the same as thousands if not millions of others out there. What’s different here?

The first and simplest marvel is just that at any given moment, at any given place on earth, the perspective and the things that are happening are unique. Nobody can hold a lens in the same place and time as I can, so as they say, being in the right place at the right time plays such a role in it. Whether that means intentionally putting myself into interesting places at key times, or just having the forethought to have my camera on me for those moments that come out of the blue. If it happens, and I am there, I’m lucky. Some of it is luck.

But that’s not all. There is a choice, a choice more fundamental than framing or ISO or shutter speed. That choice is to bring the camera up to the eye and click. To transform this private cinema of the mind, the daily movie that each of us creates every moment and intentionally grab a frame from that movie and put it into a photograph. Its kind of a bold statement. To say that this moment, this fiftieth or thousandth of a second as seen through my eye is somehow important, poignant, that it has poetry and meaning to it that needs to be shared. Photographs are after all something that first and foremost are meant to be shared. It is the human urge to be understood perhaps that drives it, just as it drives authors, musicians and painters. See what I see. So its interesting to look at what I want others to see.

What do the scenes and moments that transfix me convey, about the world, and about me?

I just looked at the first photos I shot in 2010. They are a series of images from the neighbourhood here in St-Henri. Snow, tire treads, half buried fences, the footprints of cats, icicles. Its a poem to winter, but not a cold poem, at least not in the emotional sense. Rather its full of signs, traces, evidence of life and living. The plants are dead now, but they will return. There are no cats, but there is evidence of their passing. Everything is movement and growth, even if it looks barren and monochrome.

The photo essay may well be a form that I need to investigate further, dip my toes, ankle, wade in and swim when the bottom disappears. I look forward to it. A chance to generate some new meaning out of the same old. I can start with the massive backlog of images I have. Things that I never set out to link together which ultimately and of their own volition make something that I wasn’t even aware of. Just another vessel for the world to become through.

I have done enough to support and encourage art. It is time to make some of it myself. To give it to the world and let that roll where it may.

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