"...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...