These shots I take with the goal to eventually stitch them together… there are tons over the years. I guess I need to keep sitting there sticking, I always like them, especially when the process makes the overall picture just slightly wonky. The one above’s funky look comes from the length of the exposure and a somewhat too quick panning motion, the blur belies hesitations, second thoughts… first thoughts.
And I have been wondering lately, wondering a lot actually, about what has become of the image. The photographic image to be precise. The reflection is not nostalgic, melancholic or anything like that; it is critical, whimsical and with any luck at all optimistic. The ease, speed and technical apparatus for taking pictures has become absolutely and totally ubiquitous. Instagram is everywhere, curating assembled visions of the world by simply adding a # in front of a word. A couple of clicks here and there and one has a high quality, limited edition, audience focussed bound volume, in full colour and showing all the smiles and chuckles of the quotidian.
One cannot but think of Seymour Parrish’s overdub “Family photos do keep smiling faces. Births, weddings, holidays, children’s birthday parties… People take pictures of the happy moment in their lives. Someone looking through a photo album could conclude we had lead a joyous, leisurely existence. Free of tragedy. No one ever takes a picture of something they want to forget.” [One Hour Photo, 2002]
Now, we are taking photographs of all our moments, not always the smiley face happy times (though there is always a plethora of grins, real and staged, to wade through). What is interesting is asking ourselves whether this represents the final secularization of the image, of all images. Does this strip away meaning? Does it prove that looking for meaning was/is a red herring?
In many ways, the “art” photographer’s job was indeed to try and accumulate the images of those things that we very well may want to forget. Sometimes this could take the guise of making a statement on various constructions of social co-existence, recording a moment of ephemeral passage, creating a record of whatever. All this fancy language seems utterly useless to interpret what is happening now that these statements are made by vast curated assemblages represented by the #tag.
The image is finally free of the maker, is it?
It is true, and this letter was trying to tell him something, but the force of the blow, coming as it did during a moment of great ego satisfaction, seemed to affect her ability to follow rational linear narrative forms. And this is why War and Peace was very slow to read indeed.