The photographers main preoccupation is time and space. How we look at those things makes all the difference.
“I don’t believe in ageing. I believe in forever altering one’s aspect to the sun.”
— From her diary (entry dated October 2, 1932)
Photographers are forever capturing small moments in time. It’s your individuality that makes your moment in time different to mine.
When you look at something, you see what you want, or what you have been looking for.
The combination of subjective thoughts projected, the object seen, and the ability to strip down the mind to its essential use as a tool to see the objective world, helps us to take a photo worth keeping. A moment in time captured.
Virginia Woolf’s words about ageing, about time passing, her view of ageing, reflects the ability to command her thoughts. To decide for herself how she views life and the world beyond her own subjective world.
Virginia Woolf was a fiction writer, and an essayist. Two forms of writing, fiction and reality. Two minds to view the world from the same seat.
A photographer works with realities, and battles with how to depict that reality.
We are perfectly able to create fictions; dodging and burning, compositing, putting a stronger accent on aspects in an image to make it look larger than life.
Overworking the object, waiting too long for the moment that looks great but doesn’t express what really happened, is a game of cat and mouse between two minds.
Photographers work with time slots, moments, flashes of life that reveal themselves as we move about, camera in hand, silently looking at the world.
A street photographer develops a sense of happening, an intuition that prompts us about a moment in time that is culminating into an event worth capturing.
We work with moments that we want to stop in time. That’s hard. It’s a skill to know when that perfect moment will occur.
Fiction writers work with memories. Building scenes and worlds that stem from experiences in real life. The mind can take three separate experiences from life, and stitch them together to create an original idea. It works because the idea rings true, it fits into the reality that we all accept.
Time is fleeting, it is slow, it drags. Time, like a series of frames that are slowed down or speeded up. Our way of looking helps us to control the reel of events that flicker before our eyes.
Sometimes the flicker of time is so intense that we only know it happened once we sit still and look back on the experience.
Street photographers work with the moment in time that is at hand. Experience tells us where to go, where to stand and wait, or walk. But our creations are the results of an experimental moment in time. We insert our thoughts into the flow of life and feel its vibrations. The rise and fall of ‘street’ gets into our bones and mind, then forms into intuition that makes us know it’s the right moment to take the shot.
A street full of walking people is always interesting. I look for colours, incidental combinations, how the crowd knits together as they walk and create a flow like a flock of birds that form patterns in the sky at dusk.
People dodge and weave, colour combinations interact and change in a small moment. Faces flush as the crowd passes through warm shadows, a figure cuts away into harsh moving lights. Constant changes require intuition to work at full speed, even when time is slow.
Thoughts flow with time, and the camera at our eye clicks and captures a moment that everybody else didn’t see.
The fascination with our photos lies in the question of whether the photo represents what we saw, or whether it is a true depiction of the world we experienced.
Are we objective, or do we jiggle those fleeting moments to suit our own angle of the world?
Photographers and writers alike spend a lot of time in thought. Pondering their activity, asking themselves a thousand questions about light and shadow, colour, monochrome, subject, objectivity. The more we learn about ourselves and how we see the world, the better photos we can take. The more we understand the flow of people, events, moments and time, the better photos we will take.