Tuesday, 8 June 2010

Those Precious Fleeting Moments.



"...plead the fleeting moment to remain..."

A dear friend sent me this lovely quote this morning. A quote about photographers and why they do it. And it made me think about my own love of taking pictures and why us humans seem to need to do this. Is it just a desire to record? To make our mark? Or is it something more poetic? A desire to capture beauty as it passes so fleetingly through our lives?



A few years back one of my brothers came back from a summer in San Francisco with a small stack of photos he bought at a market. Photos of unknown people. Photos that had been rescued from unclaimed lock-ups or storage units. He said there were thousands of them and they just selected a handful, but he regretted not getting more. I cannot tell you how strangely moving it was to look through this collection of photos, to gaze upon the faces of these unknown strangers. Anniversary parties, family holidays, friends hanging out, all blithely unaware of where their image would end up, and where have they ended up, I wonder?



And it is moving, truly. And again I was reminded of this as I read Sophie's latest sweet entry on her Missed Connections blog, because each person has a story, one we'll never know in the case of those photos, and I do find myself marveling once again at the wonder that is us humans. Those stories mean something to someone, somewhere, and oh how the mind can take off on a figary and with all sorts of  imaginings.



I remember so clearly how starting this blog coincided with getting my first digital camera, and suddenly I was seeing the world differently. It was as though I was seeing through the lens, and the smallest things were, in a blink, being mentally framed and considered. And I was truly seeing the details that I felt I had been missing before. It made me pause, and look. Really look. And suddenly the days were no longer whirling by in a blur of rushed necessities.

And I have relished it ever since.



And although I have forgotten most of the small bit of photography I studied in college, and I do sometimes think I'd love to know what I'm doing when I take pictures and maybe I should go back and study it, I also love this digital age that allows people like me to take pictures and feel happy with the result! (And also to indulge in a fit of polaroid nostalgia like these photos here, even if I don't even own one!) I love seeing friends photo albums on facebook or flickr, photos that look amazing and beautiful and yes, often moving. And all just ordinary people recording ordinary lives. But recording the extraordinary beauty that we all live with every day and sometimes never see.



I have said before, beauty is something to be treasured and encouraged, and if taking pictures allows us to focus on it, then may we all be trigger happy for the rest of our days! Imagine a world where everyone looked through their lens and saw only the beauty?


What a lesson we can teach our children...

25 comments:

Pat said...

Beautiful photos of strangers with wonderful, thoughtful comentary. I started snapping lots more pictures, too, after I'd received my first digital camera. It really does make you look for beauty everywhere.

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

My husband and I were talking about photography just the other day and he said it was the equivalent of being able to stop time. I loved that.

Rima said...

Ciara, you are the Queen Of The Fleeting Moment!
You are the Bottler Of Beautiful Glimpses!
:))
Another lovely quote on photography for you, can't remember where it's from:
"Photography is the place where death went when Religion let go"
love as always x R

HKatz said...

And suddenly the days were no longer whirling by in a blur of rushed necessities.

Brilliant :) Because you're right, you can't live a full rich life like that, when everything feels like it's slipping away with no definition, no appreciation for, and love and perception of the beauty everywhere, woven into every minute of every day.

Thank you for noticing and recording it in your corner of the world.

CHILDHOOD MAGIC said...

what precious glimpses. Love the photos, very poetic!

Elizabeth said...

I've always felt that blogging has made me so much more mindful --

jaboopee said...

This polaroid effect is amazing , is that the iphone too?
ciara your words and your responsibility to your photography is immense ,touching, truly enviable and extra-extra ordinary , and thanks for allowing us relish it too.

JustJenn said...

I really just love reading your words! And your photos do nothing but enhance them!

Mom said...

Your beautiful pictures and words remind me of that saying, "It's not not the number of breaths in your life that count, but the moments that take your breath away."

Erin said...

This post is incredibly touching and personal to me. I am so often asked why I want to be a photographer and sometimes its hard come up with a good answer... but you said it perfectly here. And your pictures are beautiful. Thanks for this reminder. :)

Anonymous said...

Hey Ciara! I've been a reader of your blog for a while and i just wanted to show you this post from another blog I think you would like.

http://childhoodmagic.blogspot.com/2010/05/dominican-republic-homeschooling-field.html

Emma said...

Wonderful that you are capturing all these fleeting, beautiful moments.

Jessie said...

To see a number of photos together from the same person shows us the world through their eyes. That's one of the things I love about people's blogs. Another is the poetry of words that appears to flow throughout certain ones, yours is one of them! xx

Paddy said...

Lovely photos - precious memories.

Mimi said...

Very interesting take on photography, Ciara.
And your words, and your photos, as always, are beautiful. Dandelions have never looked so pretty as in your photo- I feel terrible now for how I've been cursing the amount of them around this year (council cutbacks?).

Also, I want to let you know that I’ve moved my blog, so to visit, just click on the link with this comment. Sorry for the bother, the story is on the blog, hope to see you soon!

Stephanie V said...

We once came across a photo in some thrift store donations of a beautiful dark-eyed baby. The name 'Darlene' was on the back. We really fell in love with her and wondered who she was and why no one wanted her baby picture any more.

Thank you for stopping and sharing your beautiful moments in time...

Ciara said...

Thank you all, for your sweet words!! I can see it struck a chord with a number of you.

Rima, ooh, now that quote gives me shivers! Wonderful!

(Jaboopee) Elaine, you guessed it! I'm such a geek. Love my iPhone apps!

Mom, (how strange to address you as Mom!) another beautiful quote, thank you!

Anon, by coincidence I had just read that post yesterday, thank you!

Mimi, will take a wander over today, thanks!!

And finally, Stephanie, how sad, did you take Darlene home with you?

gracia said...

That first photo... gosh... so beautiful. It reminds me of my own childhood imaginings.

Beauty is something to be both treasured and encouraged, you are right.

endofera said...

You make the Summer seem that bit warmer through your photos...reminders of Summers circa 1980 with ice cream stained seat belts and sand in your sandwiches and falling down sand dunes and crashing through waves for the first time....keep snapping away and make our Summer the best ever in our minds....

Sadhbh said...

Ciara, I just love this post. Simply beautiful. S

One Womans Thoughts said...

A very interesting post. When my parents both passed away, I was going through an endless amount of old photos, many from the other side of the world after the war. I don't know any of these people and yet I was captured by their photos. Like you, I asked myself, who they were, what happened to them and what their names wwere. Unfortunately I didn't keep all of them, but I did keep a significant amount. I know these people were loved and gave love, and that they contributed in some way to life on this planet. I said a prayer that they and their families and friends, have had a better life and found some happiness.

Charlie and Caroline said...

Great photos. We are using loads of different apps at the moment...they are completely addictive. Have you tried SwankoLab? CandCx

Ciara said...

Gracia, me too. I think that must be why I'm enjoying these nostalgic pics so much!

Endofera, ditto! It's pure indulgence on my part. So glad you are enjoying it too!

One Woman's Thoughts, how lucky you are! My parents have a hallway filled with black and white photos of family members going as far back as possible. It's incredible to see familiar faces in people long gone, and yes they were loved and still remembered. And how amazing tho think that they are strangers to others. I like to think maybe somewhere in the world a prayer may have been said for them by a kind stranger.

Charlie and Caroline, yes, completely addictive! Haven't tried Swankolab but off to do so now! My latest one is Hipstamatic...

Moment to Moment said...

Love that last photo, wow...
nothing like capturing a moment!

Bryan Boru said...

Reading this reminded me of an episode of 'This American Life' entitled "House On Loon Lake" http://feeds.thisamericanlife.org/talpodcast

I suggest it to you and your readers, if you have iTunes it is free.

I take photos for many reasons, visual design, memories, documenting a moment. The thing I love most about photos is what is conveyed to the viewer. It could be an entirely different range of emotions that what I felt when I shot the image.