h o t o g r a p h y  &  R e f l e c t i o n

About the 'Still' Moment

Why a ‘still’ moment; why still? For one, I choose to shoot the still image. The single still frame freezes what it sees and so holds a moment in suspension and in focus. In contrast, the moving image is 24-30 different frames a second. The moving image is about the next moment, about the anticipation. The moving image is about what comes next and so anticipates change, focuses on what is to come, the present moment having little cache. The single frame of the still image is not about time moving on, but time held.

The moving image keeps one busy anticipating what's next, the current moment a distraction. The still image asks for the contemplation of a single moment. Viewing a single still image allows one to learn more about that image, more about a single moment. By stopping time, one is  able to examine and reflect more on the image, taking one deeper into the moment, rather than taken from the moment, contemplation of as opposed to distraction from the present moment.

Each mode serves a purpose. Having time to explore the suspended moment leads one more deeply into the nature of things, not things as they appear, but things as they are. Only by suspending time can we imagine, dream, explore our own self. 

With contemplating the still image, we are in the stillness of the moment, sink into our dreams and imaginings. the journey is interior, one of our own reckoning. Our own self, our musings and contemplation determine the direction of the story; we become the story, a story of our own making.

In contrast, the movie takes us to a place the moving images dictates. We follow the frames, wondering what's next, what turn is ahead. The moving image doesn’t give us time to question the journey we’re on. It leads. The creator of the moving images determines the story, their story. In the end we assent to or dismiss its story.

With the moving image, meaning is achieved by the continual stimulation; constant stimulation helps us feel something has changed in us and something of import has happened.

With the still image, the line and the light, the colour and the shape is not flashing by, not perceived as stimulation. Instead the line and light, colour and shape play on the structures of our perception, connects to the deeper recesses of the structure of our minds. It reveals what is hidden, becomes a deeper knowing of the Self. In the stillness of that moment, what we see  is not things as they appear, but things as they are.

A good photograph helps us to feel more of life, and so feel life more.

As literary critic John Banville describes, art is not about making a great statement; it’s about a gesture that awakens one, for a brief moment, awakens one.

Different images will speak to different people for we are none of us alike. We find an image and sense something about it we love. In the stillness of the image we are able to contemplate, explore, imagine, dream. Spending much time with a still image that we love slows us down. In this way, we find solace, become familiar with our own self, recognize our own humanity, away from the speed of life racing by. Why a ‘still’ moment? To suspend time passing; to contemplate time being.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In