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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Photos lie

A friend of mine has taken on a new venture as a videographer…and it makes me smile. I love it when friends take their art, their passion, and attempt to bring it forward, to make it a more integral part of their lives. It just rocks!

That said, a comment on his blog about the differences between shooting film and shooting video got me thinking. Or rather, it continued the train of thought. There’s an Ani DiFranco song about changing called “Evolve”, and the last thing she’s says is “It took me a long time to realize that I don’t take good pictures because I’ve got the kind of beauty that moves.” I love that statement for so many reasons, but this morning, the two ideas coalesced into this one:

Photographs lie.

Oh, I like photos as much as the next guy, but there’s an unreality about them that I think, comes from the fact that life is about movement. We perceive movement. Nothing is really static, because we, even in our attempts to remain stock still, aren’t. So even if you’re standing on the precipice, staring out at the vastness of the grand canyon, there’s movement as the blood courses through you, as the clouds shift overhead, imperceptibly altering what you see, as every atom of your being vibrates in space and time, there is movement.

A camera snags a single image and says, “here, this is real.” But it’s not, because perception is continuity, it’s change, and even though you were standing right there on the lip of it, focusing on reality through your viewfinder, you didn’t catch it. Not even close. And therefore, photographs lie, and in the end, are no more real than what the painter created with his brush…maybe even less so, as the painter captures his images over time, as he looks back and forth between canvas and the shifting reality of his subject.

3 comments:

Charles Gramlich said...

That's a good point to keep in mind for writing as well.

syzygy13 said...

I like the thought a lot. It seems to me that the thing that may be real is the actual picture itself, the physical thing of it. As real as anything is, I guess. It's our perception of the subject of the photo (or video) and the actions in it as real that is false.

@ charles gramlich - good point on the "good point!" ;) I'm presuming you see the relationship more between writing and video (or painting), rather than writing and photography? Although, photos are often edited these days as well, and returned to and "re-touched."

Touched again. heh. I'm certainly "touched." But then again, aren't most, if not all of us? One definition of "re-touched: one is a whack-job; one 'gets sane;' one becomes a loopdy-doody again."

I guess, any work (of art, or not) is, eventually, done. Finished. Whether by the action of putting it down and not picking it up again, or by saying, "There. It's done." Or, of course, by the actor/worker/artist dying.

Which, of course, leads us to the afterlife. heh. If reality is motion, and we don't, in some form, live on after death - that is, if we "stop" - do we become unreal? De-real? Anti-real?

Whoa, dude. Tasty.

Clifford said...

Synergy Boy: Good points...but the afterlife. While I won't get into what I think happpens to the energy, the you, I will say that the body doesn't necessarly stop moving. Like all matter, there's a lot going on. It may be moving much, much, slower, but it's still moving as it decays or fossilizes...nothing carbon based is every really still, is it?

Thanks for the comments guys!

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.