Wednesday, January 2, 2013

La Tour Eiffel (Cliché vs. Abstraction) & Le Cimetière du Père Lachaise

Day #4: Photography and Death
I think the comparison of photography and death is extraordinarily intriguing. If you think about it, every single photograph you take is freezing an actual moment in time, and after the photograph is taken, that physical moment is forever gone and lost. At the same time, however, that moment will eternally live on through that photograph, and you can revisit it again and again and conjure up similar, if not the same emotions you felt the day you snapped the shot. It’s as though photography is a time machine, or a time capsule, through which one can always go back and reminisce about a specific instance or person and, through personal digging deep within one’s emotions and heart and soul, that person can literally relive the memories they had the day that picture was taken as well as the emotions which were felt at the time. This is an extremely personal endeavor and a very somber commitment. I’ve constantly pondered the concept of photography robbing the actual “now” moment from a person, as he or she is technically “living life through a lens…or hiding behind one,” because they are too preoccupied with getting the “perfect” shot of a moment instead of soaking it up with absolutely no distractions or stressors. At the same time, having no way of capturing a moment in time comes the anxiety of only getting to “live” that moment once, as well as the anxiety of forgetting how memorable and beautiful it was. I’ve also pondered a counter argument to this, as a photograph often captures the detail and soul of a subject—something other mediums truly cannot do, because they are not literal reflections of the subject (i.e. a painting can replicate a person while a photograph is an exact depiction of what the subject looked like the day the photo was taken). It’s like a mirror or a window to the soul and spirit.
While I was at the Eiffel Tower this morning, I also pondered these very concepts, but my mind started wondering towards another very relevant and positive reminder of why I love the process of photography so very much, and that is the fact that often when we’re physically experiencing a place or interacting with a person, we don’t have time to process our own responses bit-by-bit due to the plethora of other distractions typically present (i.e. you can’t process every ounce of your own thoughts to the T while conversing with someone else). The only way to be able to successfully have one’s cake and eat it too, per se, is to take a photo, and to put your all into that photo, because once it’s taken, it’s taken, and you can later go back and assess all of that which you pushed to the back of your brain while the situation was actually occurring. I truly believe that photography in moderation is extremely rewarding, because it gives you the time (granted you don’t take too many photos and spend the entire experience “hiding behind the lens”) to just live the experience you want to remember and process and then return back to it and mentally reflect upon it.

To view these complete sets of photos, click on the following links to my Flickr:

Click HERE!
AND here!

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