Thieves of time.
(or On taking a photo.)
The idea of taking a photo is the idea of freezing time, of making a moment eternal, of dissecting visually what is hidden in the present, in the now. Contrary to popular belief, one only knows the present through a reflective rumination of the just-past, by the instant remembrance of the recently perceived. How much does one really see when one looks at the world? How much does one perceive of the moment seen? Does one really see the world, or does one only re/construct it to one’s individual or collective content as it rushes past, placing unawares upon one’s field of vision, details lost in the wavering meanderings of one´s thoughtless sight —or, rather, of one’s sightless thought?
Time betrays knowing. It impedes and steals the capacity of apprehending and comprehending what transpires before one. One is reduced to perceive life via the constraints of one’s embodied senses and the limits of one’s field of perception, which —dependent on the acuity and quality of one’s perceptual organs, and one’s ability to interpret the insurmountable quantity of sensory data impressed upon one— distracts one from really comprehending what lies beyond the shadows of the fullness of the moment.
The camera, then, functions primarily as an extension of one’s visual organ: it allows for the taker to capture the moment with great —or, in some cases, estranged— accuracy and detail. Like thieves, the camera becomes an essential tool for those who wish to steal time of its fleetingness: of stealing time in its place/space of being. It augments the visual sense of perception allowing one to “see” more than we usually see. It grants one the ability to see what one may sense but never actually see.
As photographer the instant one depresses the release button to fire the camera one makes a conscious decision to stop time in its tracks. One deliberately attempts to purloin a moment from its innocence in expectations that it will reveal some hidden truth.
You see, one “takes” a photo. One “takes” time from its place of being. One captures the moment from its habitat, its space. And in the process one re/creates the act of villainy with impunity for the simple joy of being able to. Whether it be a mere superficial platitude or an act of a deeper sense of meaning, the act of pressing the release button is a selfish act, an act of thievery in the name of truth, in the hope that by stealing space’s time one will reveal a deeper and/or hidden truth only present in the ephemeral moment of the now.