A Separation from Noise

 
"Photography seems to be a simpler art, until one starts calculating the measure and worth of all those missed moments."–K Madhavan Pillai

“Photography seems to be a simpler art, until one starts calculating the measure and worth of all those missed moments.”–K Madhavan Pillai

Here’s a thought for our 18th Anniversary issue. Over the years, I have come to believe that all of art, including photography, is a separation from noise. The potential in a moment is in detaching it from hundreds of parallel strings of moments, all occurring at the same time. Similarly, it takes notes plucked from thousands of sounds to create a piece of music. Likewise, it is mandatory for a practitioner of ikebana to work in absolute silence, until an arrangement presents itself. Or, a sculptor, who first needs to see the possibilities within a block of marble or stone before he can proceed.

It takes a surprising amount of courage to paint the first stroke, or write the first word, because it involves commitment to a path… which is the reason why a lot of artists brood over empty canvasses. It gets both easier and tougher with practice. Easier… because the first three or four steps come naturally after a while. Tougher… because it takes effort to break away from them. Photography seems to be a simpler art, in that sense, until one starts calculating the measure and worth of all those missed moments.

I continue to use the word separation, not movement (away from noise). In a search for meaningfulness, artists seek a certain intensity in their lives and relationships. They love noise. Without noise, there can be no separation. The noise forms the base where experiences coalesce, from which a thought, an idea, or a muse can emerge. The absence of noise is not silence. It is simply a nothingness.

This article originally appeared in the April 2016 issue of Better Photography.

Tags: Edit note, June 201, K Madhavan Pillai