Is photography living in the moment, or dwelling on the past?

The other day I was talking with a friend about how different my experience is when photographing life, compared to the experience of being without attempting to interpret what is going on. The act of photography sometimes seems, well to me anyway, as a more thoughtful way to experience the world, people especially. When making a photograph I can focus (oh, a pun) intently on the person or whatever it is being photographed, without a camera there would be too many distractions. But, is this a good way to view life, as a distraction distilled and edited?

The nature of the frame, the moment in time that is captured, and most importantly the control over what is seen and not in the final image allows me to gain a sense of control of the universe. At least for that small fraction of time.2014-04-29-Tatcha-Kyoto-351

I know this is an illusion, just because I tripped a shutter at a particular moment setting off  a complex set of optical and mechanical events resulting in light rays from a the time and location I choose to be recorded on some form of recording media does not mean anything other than I made a photo, which is a really awesome thing, but the only thing I can control is how I make the photo, everything else does whatever it does.

However, there is no reason I need to think of photography in such a sterile way. I fell in love with the romance of photography. The aching beauty that can be created by this optical illusion. The sense of moment that so many others have much more brilliantly elaborated on, the joy of life captured in a split second.

Autosave-File vom d-lab2/3 der AgfaPhoto GmbHI love photography because it gives me the opportunity to explore the world, meet people I would otherwise never come across and the feeling of magic felt when taking the chaos of our reality, and for that brief moment, making sense of it all. And, I sometimes love not taking photos, just being in the world, enjoying the experience without trying to control it.

Roberto_Benigini_photograph_san_francisco

But, that magic feeling when making photographs is so seductive. I think I need to stop writing this and get back to it.

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