Sunday, October 19, 2014

Taking Timeless Transient Pictures

It is terrifying how strong our urge to take a pic of the next sun bathed beach with golden sand we see is, a haphazardly graffiti-ed wall with pamphlets stuck to it half-heartedly, an absurdly zoomed in shot of an open book with words strewn all over. To flip out the camera and slap filters on it like a Californian water source or edit it in Retrica with a bright jaundiced light, probably a faded matte look. Something to cover up the dullness of reality, anything.

The need to preserve a timeless moment is staggering, and there's no reason for it to be bad. Everyone is free to post whatever they want, wherever they want. Doesn't matter if it's vapid like a half empty Breezer bottle or a pose up with an expensive car that is not your own. There is a lingering fear that just living the moment isn't enough, and it isn't. Experiencing new things contains a disguised pain, we forget the old ones, they become duller, fading into oblivion, a much simpler version of what we're experiencing right now. Do we do it so somebody looks, an odd feeling of instant gratification maybe. It feels satisfying to know there is someone clicking on the pictures staring at a screen, squinting, and quite possibly jealous.

It is not about posting these pictures online either, it is just taking them, collecting them, organizing them into little folders separated by different names, and looking pretty. Picture connoisseur, picture hoarder. 20 80. There is a sense of urgency in taking a shot before the moment is lost, evaporating from our memories like invisible ink. The fear of not remembering its presence after all. So we document it before the star dwindles, even if it has been there for longer than all our lives joined together. Because if the star blinks into darkness for a moment, it might as well have been destroyed.

Taking pictures is feeling those emotions and cataloging them simultaneously. Not unlike a butterfly pinned to a hard board, framed by a suffocating display glass. The pleasure derived from looking at the beauty cannot possibly be dwarfed by their death. Or can it? A picture is worth a thousand words. It doesn't matter if those words are in jumbled order with confusing interpretations and misleading context.

Pictures of everyday object make it seem like we're having a profound experience. A cup of tea with a good book screams rejuvenation. Overlooking the fact that it took 5 minutes to meticulously set the two objects, 2 more to get the best angles, another 3 to sort through them isn't all that hard. Especially since We're trying to ignore it. You don't have a limitation of time or stuff to do either- like reading the patiently waiting book or drink the hot coffee. That is the exactness of the moment you want to remember, for an eternity, until a better shot comes along.

A camera only does so much though, sometimes we just have to put it down and look. Some moments cannot be captured by the convex  lenses. You cannot photograph the brilliance of life by trying to capture it in one somber moment. You can try, and sometimes succeed, but a camera can only capture the outside, what makes them special is inside your head, a world full of experiences.



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