More Food For More Thought… Vol. II


There are some observations through the past year, through a miasmic haze of screen-time, sleep, wakefulness, and losing oneself to photography.

That the things that we most neglect are often most important. That many such, are brought back into our attention from the peripheries of our gaze, with shocking randomness. That these things are really not at all random, for we place them there in the form of objects, books and prints we believe need to be carefully preserved. And then that are forgotten. Until they are unforgotten. That it is in these meandering ruminations and study that we find our directions and paths, and if we are lucky, a muse.

That books are the most permanent form of exhibitions yet, because they will be seen and, perhaps, appreciated more frequently than the unseen billions of moments, thoughts, images and opinions swirling in time, space and cyberspace. That a single beautifully smithed line, or a singularly seen image can be revelation. That an idea or thought truly lives on in those pages, even if a book passes through unseen hands and unknown minds in strange lands.

That there is an odd, touching sense of satisfaction when a stranger appreciates a book for absolutely no other reason than that the thoughts, or illustrations or images in it are appreciable. That this stranger is in no way connected to you, with no intent and no motive than to simply appreciate. That an author or imagemaker truly lives on through a book, because it presents itself by merely being present, though the physical faculties, sight, self and life of the creators may fade and be forgotten.

That sight and vision are not synonymous. That sight without vision is quite pointless. But vision without sight can not only exist, but can thrive and be beautiful, deliciously free of that burden. That creation needs vision, space and mindspace, but it can happen anywhere, anyhow, with anyone. That photography is truly among the very few universal languages, photography more so than most.

That revelations can occur time and again, and they can grow on you from the same source, even from a single image, over years and decades. That it takes decades to see, and in so seeing, it is possible for a lifetime to pass in just a few seconds. Revelations can dawn upon and be momentary too. And that sometimes, it can be just about to break through from the horizon in that quiet, calm, interminable moment of tremendous promise, and remain there, and fade, try as one might to grasp the light.

That it takes tremendous courage and balance to accept oneself, just as it would to accept an audience and perform in front of it. That to put on an act… is to act, and the act can be the truth, a half-truth, or a lie. And that the audience, inscrutable as they may be, loves all three. Except that the truth and the lie both must be convincing, and therefore, a work of conviction. That the question of why you do things, and who you do things for, is vital because it leads to what you do and how you do it. That the process of seeing include the answer, and that the answer itself is transcended and does not matter.

That photography itself is about the visible truth in the frames, for seeing must be believing. That it is also just as much about the truth outside the frame, in the physicality of what is not shown. This must be considered, because it is also what makes every photograph equally half-truths—ideas toying with the nature of reality.

And finally, that the next moment is just around the corner, and the next and then the next beyond that, in an endless series of opportunities and promises. The one pregnant with powerful potential to change everything is the one that is nurtured, grasped, and captured as seen. And so it flows.

This article originally appeared in the March 2021 issue of Better Photography.